The Ridge Meadows Flames dropped a pair of weekend games to the Abbotsford Pilots in their battle for first place in the Pacific Junior Hockey League.
The Flames dropped a 6-3 decision on Saturday, Nov. 4 in Abbotsford, the second loss in as many days to the Pilots, and fell six points back of the first place in the process.
Taylor Seganfreddo of the Flames opened the scoring just one minute into Saturday’s tilt on a 5-on-3 power play goal thanks to the Pilots taking a pair of penalties before the game was a minute old. The Pilots were given a two minute penalty for a warm-up violation before the puck even dropped, then just 46 seconds later they were accessed an unsportsmanlike team penalty.
However, the Pilots scored two goals just 27 seconds apart in the closing minutes of the first period to jump out to a 2-1 lead.
The Flames and Pilots traded a pair of goals each in the second frame before seeing Abbotsford secure the win by capitalizing on a pair of tripping calls with just under six minutes to go in the game.
Seganfreddo was sent to the sin bin at with 5:59 left in the final frame, followed by teammate Cameron Kovesdi 1:04 seconds later.
The Pilots struck for two goals in 36 seconds to run the score to 6-3.
The Flames Paul Tucek took the loss, stopping 34 of 40 shots.
A day earlier in Maple Ridge, Abbotsford Pilot Baylee Wright broke a 3-3 tie with a pair of third period goals as the first-place Pilots defeated the runner-up Flames 5-3 the battle atop the Harold Brittain Conference.
The Pilots took a 3-1 lead after the first period. The Flames tied it up with two quick goals in the first five minutes of the third period. They out shot Abby 19-5 in the third period, and 36-27 overall.
But Wright took the game for Abby down the stretch. Wright, from Langley, also added a pair of assists to his impressive totals, and now leads the PJHL scoring race by 11 points, with 25 goals and 44 points in 17 games.
Noah Wiebe, Brady Morton and Cameron Obcena also scored for the Pilots who now have a six point lead over the Flames atop the Brittain Conference standings with a record of 14 wins, three losses and two overtime losses. The Flames sit in second in the Harold Brittain with a 12-6 record.
The Flames, who lost for just the second time at home this season, got a goal each from Daniel Chifan, Logan Hunter and Liam Evenson. Defender Ryan Wellburn and team captain Andrew Strelezki each had two assists.
Flames backup Cooper Anderson was tagged with the loss.
Strelezki leads the Flames with 10 goals and 22 points in 18 games, and is among the top 10 scorers in the PJHL. Rookie Daniel Chifan is second in scoring, with nine goals and 12 assists in 16 games.
The Flames have a full schedule, with a game on Tuesday at the Ladner Leisure Centre against the Delta Ice Hawks.
The Ridge Meadow Flames next home game is Friday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m. against the Langley Trappers at Cam Neely Arena.