Abbotsford – The Delta Icehawks topped the Abbotsford Pilots by a score of 3-1 Friday night at MSA Arena. A shorthanded Delta goal was the difference maker in the final meeting of the season between the two teams, they split the season series 2-2. Jordy Engleson of the Icehawks hung in for the win with 24 saves, while his counterpart Brock Machholz of Abbotsford put aside 45 of Delta’s shots.
First blood went to the Icehawks courtesy of Stephen Chen at 15:14. A clearing attempt by the Pilots was kept in by Bradley Araki-Young at the right wing point. The defenceman dumped in back into the zone for Cameron Luk who fed it to an open Chen in the slot for a one-timer past Brock Machholz. The goal was Chen’s fifth of the season and the rookie forward now has a goal in each of the past three meetings between the Icehawks and Pilots. The lone goal stood for Delta after 20 minutes, with shots 19-5 for the visitors.
Abbotsford was able to even the score in the second period courtesy of Mason Smith. The Pilots leading scorer buried his 14th goal of the season off a huge rebound given up by Jordy Engleson. The goal was the Pilots’ first since January 4th, being shutout in previous back-to-back games.
Delta found themselves in the box with time winding down in the period and Ryan Xu called off for interference at 18:45. The first power play for the Pilots saw them give up a shorthanded goal on a Mitch Lavoie breakaway at 19:43. This gave the Icehawks a 2-1 lead into the second intermission and it was Abbotsford’s 7th short handed goal against this season, a league-high total. The shot total in the second was 15-10 Delta.
Marcus Pantazis added to Delta’s lead in the third, striking with an unassisted marker at 2:49 for his team leading 18th goal of the season. This would bring the score up to 3-1, which would stand until the final horn. However, the period was marred by penalty trouble in the late stages. After various mixups between whistles, six different players among both sides were ejected from the game and 90 penalty minutes were assessed overall. Shots on goal in the final frame were 14-10 for Delta. The win for the Icehawks propells them ahead of the Aldergrove Kodiaks in the standings for the final playoff spot in the PJHL.
The Pilots have the weekend off, they hit the ice Monday night in White Rock to face the Whalers. Puck drop is at 7:15pm at Centennial Arena.