Ridge Meadows Flames host Abbotsford Pilots in playoffs tonight
The Ridge Meadows Flames got a big-time confidence boost as they head into the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs: a 5-0 blowout of their first-round opponent.
Game 2 of that series goes tonight in Maple Ridge.
The Flames had been on an ugly six-game losing skid before the Abbotsford Pilots landed at Planet Ice on Friday night.
The local Junior Bs also had yet to defeat the Pilots this season.
They emphatically reversed both trends on Friday.
“The timing was just right,” said coach Jamie Fiset.
Dale Howell and Jake Holland each had a goal and an assist. Ryan Scott, Andrew Castagna and Joe Olson also scored, while Shawn Tilton and Nicholas Coltura both had two assists.
“Five goals from five different guys – that’s a good sign,” said Fiset.
Goaltender Tyler Read made 26 saves for the shutout.
The Flames lost their final game of the regular season 4-2 to the Grandview Steelers on Sunday night at Burnaby Winter Club.
The Flames got goals from Danny Wilson and Travis Oddy.
Abbotsford finished second in the Harold Brittain Conference with a record of 27-12-3-2. The Pilots top scorers are Braeden Monk and Kolten Grieve, who had 55 and 52 points, respectively. Monk finished sixth in league scoring, and Grieve, ninth.
The Flames finished third in the conference with a record of 17-22-3-2. The top scorer was team captain Oddy, with 20 goals and 38 points in 43 games. He tied Howell, who had 11 goals and 38 points in 40 games.
The Flames have a roster laden with 15-16 rookies in the lineup every night.
The Pilots are more veteran, and have played with a quiet confidence that eventually the game will go their way.
The Flames-Pilots series started last night in Abbotsford, and will continue tonight at Planet Ice at 8:30 p.m.
Fiset said he likes the matchup with Abbotsford – a team that the Flames have had some success against offensively.
“Whichever team can play defence the best is going to win,” he predicted.