Ridge Meadows Flames team captain Danny Wilson won a puck battle, barged to the front of the Abbotsford Pilots net, and put a shot that went crossbar and down for the game-winning goal.
There was just two minutes left, and the locals held on for the win.
Just like that, everything looks like it’s back on track for the Flames, who beat the Pilots 3-2 at Planet Ice on Friday night.
Head coach Jamie Fiset said it was a great moment in this young season in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, as Wilson exerted his will on the Pilots.
“It was just good, old-fashioned hard work,” said the coach and GM.
The other Flames goals were scored by Andrew Strelezki and Grant Rostvig.
Fiset also gave a nod to his goaltender, as Kurt Klimek made 30 saves on 32 shots to get the win.
“We were really happy with our defensive effort in the game,” he added.
Despite a losing record, the Flames are in second place in the Harold Brittain Conference with a 5-6 record. They are tied with the Aldergrove Kodiaks at 10 points each, but the Flames have a game in hand. The standings are tight, and every win will be big.
“In our conference this year, anybody can beat anybody,” said Fiset.
It looks to be a weekend of extremes coming up. Friday night the Flames host the last-place Port Moody Panthers (3-9-0-1) at Planet Ice at 7:30 p.m. Then on Saturday, they take on the first-place North Vancouver Wolf Pack (11-1-0-2) at the Harry Jerome Rec Centre at 7 p.m.
Fiset said neither game is easy, and pointed out that the Panthers are on a roll. Port Moody is giving up an average of 5.5 goals per game, but are actually on a three-game win streak after a terrible start to their campaign.
“We play two of the hottest teams in the league right now,” said Fiset.
The Flames released some players to trim their roster, dropping rookies who were not getting consistent playing time.
They also added Brad Crompton, a “giant” 17-year-old, a six-foot-four, 220-pound power forward out of North Vancouver. He was a late cut from the Coquitlam Express of the B.C. Hockey League.
Fiset said Crompton plays a 200-foot game, and wins battles along the boards. His addition also makes the Flames one of the biggest teams on the junior B circuit.
A Pitt Meadows player is in the league scoring race, as Matt Bissett, who plays for the Richmond Sockeyes, is sixth with 22 points.
The Flames do not have a player among the top 10 league scorers.