Bailey Wright scored twice and added a helper as the Mission City Outlaws were 7-4 winners over the Knights in North Surrey on Thursday.
The game might not have been pretty in spots, but some of the goals were. More on that in a moment.
The Outlaws headed to North Surrey hoping to get off to a good start in both their first game and the season. Lots of questions marks coming in such as where would the goals come from with Bryce Pisiak and David McGowan no longer in ‘Laws colours. Another concerned a lack of work ethic early in training camp and in the 6-0 preseason loss to the Flames.
The Outlaws started Payton Gibson in net, while the Knights gave the reigns to Maguire Hoilund.
It was the Outlaws who came out with a lot of jump early, and less than 5 minutes in they got on the board on the power-play. Ryan Sharma put in a Brendan Saether point shot to make it 1-0 Good Guys.
Three minutes later Wright would score to make it 2-0 after his pass went off a Knights defender’s skate and in.
Late in the First, Jeremy Zomar banged home a loose puck in the slot to give the Outlaws a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The Knights woke up in the Second period, scoring the only two goals of the frame while letting the Outlaws know they would have to earn the two points.
The Outlaws restored a two goal lead thanks to Wright dangling down the right wing, then delivering a lovely pass to Holub to make it 4-2 just over 3 minutes in.
The Knights roared back with two goals, taking advantage of some power-play opportunities which included a major tying the game at 4.
The Outlaws almost regained the lead when Sammy Zeinab was sent in on a breakaway, but was stopped by Hoilund.
They would nab the lead, as Kyle Lennea pushed home rebound after Michael Sande took the initial shot with 4 minutes left. Lennea was one of three ‘Laws players who had a goal and an assist.
Ryan Sharma mesmerized the Knights defense moments later, sucking in a pair of defenders on the right side, then dishing to a wide open Wright who made no mistake giving the Outlaws a 6-4 lead.
Michael Nemeth iced the game with an empty net goal, wheeling from behind his net and firing a puck into the gaping cage from outside the center-ice red line.
Coach Brad Veitch on what transpired in the Outlaws first game.
“It was sloppy. We should have put the game away in the 2nd period but our focus on burying the chances we had wasn’t good enough. Our response in the 3rd was good, but we will need to be much more determined going forward and eliminate the unforced errors we made.” Veitch stated.
“On a positive note I liked the structure and compete of the (Liam) Robinson, (Trevor) Sundher, (Jeremy) Zomar line who battled hard all night and gave us energy and a goal. I also liked play of our rookie defenseman as group in their first junior game.”
Goalie Payton Gibson finished with 36 saves for the win for the Outlaws, while the Knights Maguire Hoilund made 45 in his junior debut. Blake McCullough and Jin Woo-Lee each had a pair for the Knights in the loss.
The ‘Laws face a very good Aldergrove Kodiaks team at the MLC on Saturday. The Bears dumped the Abbotsford Pilots 6-2 on Wednesday.