Outlaws Take 2-0 Lead in PJHL Finals

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BY: BEN LYPKA, MISSION CITY RECORD

Outlaws forwards lit up the Pacific Junior Hockey League all season long, with three Mission forwards in the top 10 in league scoring, but Saturday it was the defenseman who stepped up.

The Outlaws skated away with a 6-5 win in game two of the PJHL final against the Grandview Steelers, and it couldn’t have been done without a little help from the back end.

Defender Tyler Wickman blasted a shot from the point at 15:32 of the second period to tie the game up, and rearguard Nicholas Thompson potted the eventual game winner at 6:32 of the third. It capped off a wild game that was tied five different times. Outlaws head coach Brad Veitch said his d-men always have the green light to attack offensively, and it paid off on Saturday.

“It was absolutely huge for us to get goals from those guys,” he said. “We’ve got four guys back there that can join the rush at anytime and they’re welcome to do so. We play that way more than other teams in this league.”

The familiar offensive faces for the Outlaws also contributed on Saturday, with Bryce Pisiak and Kolby Steen giving Mission a 2-1 lead after the first period.

The teams exchanged seven goals in the second period, as Justin Bowerman, Brody Dyck and Wickman replied in the second. The two teams were deadlocked at five after two.

Both teams tightened up in the second, with Thompson’s goal being the difference. Despite the win, Veitch said his team wasn’t perfect.

“I saw a team that was playing in bits and stops and starts,” he said. “We’re scoring goals but we’re playing way too loose defensively and making some stupid mistakes. But we’re finding ways to win, which is good.”

He said they have so far been able to make the more defensively minded Steelers play the Outlaws offensive game.

“We’re getting the lead on them and not letting them get into that defensive shell,” he said. “We’re also putting a lot of pressure on their goalie, but at the same time we’re putting a lot of strain on our defence and goalie with the way we’re playing.”

Penalties were also an issue for the Outlaws, as they allowed two power play goals and racked up eight minutes in penalties in the first. Mission did manage a shorthanded goal with Dyck’s goal in the second period.

Veitch said game one was similar to game two, with the Outlaws offence helping them earn the 7-4 win.

Steen had a hat trick, with Pisiak, Thompson, Ryan Sharma and Kyle Lennea adding single goals.

“We played pretty good in game one,” he said. “But like tonight there were some times where we left the zone too early and focused a little too much on offence.”

Mission now has a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven PJHL final, and have now won 10 straight playoff games. The Outlaws have not lost since game three of their first round series against the Ridge Meadows Flames when they fell behind 3-0.

The series shifts to the Burnaby Winter Club for games three and four on Monday and Wednesday. Game five, if necessary, would occur in Mission on Saturday.

As always all games will be available for FREE audio at mixlr.com/outlawshockey.  Tune in Monday and Wednesday for LIVE action beginning with the Reliable Auto Towing Pregame show at 7:05 PM and the Puck drops at 7:15 PM both nights from the Burnaby Winter Club.

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