The Outlaws followed up a 7-0 win in Surrey over the Knights Thursday with a 7-3 loss to the Aldergrove Kodiaks at the MLC on Saturday.
If you can figure out the true identity of this year’s edition of the Outlaws, I’ve got a Rubik’s Cube sitting in my house unsolved for 25 years that you can work on next.
The week began with the addition of 6’4″ forward Nikolas Bizzutto from the Surrey Knights for future considerations followed by a blowout win over his former team. Those good vibes were seemingly salted away in a second period against the Bears where the hosts were outscored 5-2.
Lets rewind first back to Thursday. Baylee Wright continued his assault on the leader board with a hat-trick against the Knights, including a dazzlingly stick-handling display after taking a pass alone in the slot which resulted in Jeevan Bains on one side of the crease while the puck found a home top shelf. Bains could hardly be faulted in the loss, collecting 39 saves including 15 in the first period alone. Wright also had a clinical finish of a great cross crease feed from Ryan Sharma.
The line of Justin Bowerman-Nathan McCarnan-Jacob Dorey continued to impress with their smash-mouth style. They combined for 3 goals, 4 assists and possibly countless bruises on Knights defenders. Matt Trulsen reached a landmark, recording his first junior shutout with 15 saves. Veteran forwards Michal Holub, Ryan Sharma and Jackson Waniek each had a pair of assists.
However, Saturday against the Kodiaks proved to be a much more daunting task.
Aldergrove showed why they came in to the game in first place overall. They dominated the first period in shots 16-4, with Matt Trulsen doing his best to keep his team in it. He only allowed the one goal, with Kurt Klimek slipping around a defender before fooling Trulsen with a short side shot from a strange angle.
The Outlaws were actually in the game for the first 30 minutes. Michael Nemeth’s point shot while short handed early in the second period tied the game. Klimek forced a turnover at the Outlaws blueline then raced in on a breakaway to restore the Kodiaks lead five and a half minutes later. They moved ahead by two on an Eric Callegari slap shot on the power-play, only to see the Outlaws cut the lead to one 19 seconds later. The Kodiaks had a defensive breakdown which led to a 4-on-2 advantage for the ‘Laws. Jeremy Zomar wristed home a shot to make it 3-2.
That would be as close as the game would get.
The Kodiaks struck for three straight in 2:39. Matt Oliver scored after a bad clearance led to a 2-on-1. Then Arjun Cheema snuck one past Trulsen despite the Outlaws keeper catching a piece of the shot. Callegari wrapped up the 7 goals combined in the middle frame with a point shot. That goal saw Trulsen replaced by Keaton Dyck with just over 4 minutes remaining in the second.
Photo courtesy Doug Abbott
Baylee Wright scored his 10th goal in his last 8 games in the third, but the Kodiaks added another power-play goal to make it a 7-3 final. Dyck made 9 saves, Trulsen 26 while Dawson Rodin was very sharp in the final 40 and stopped 32 on the night.
After the game Coach Brad Veitch said this game showed there are some crucial areas of he hopes his team can improve on.
“We need to stay focused, regardless of what the calls are on the ice. And believe me I’m not sure if all those calls against us tonight, especially in the second period were justified.
We need to get better at not getting frustrated. We also need to start better. We didn’t come out very well. We actually played better in the second period but the parade to the penalty box really took the momentum away from us. ”
Veitch singled out a few players as being ones he thought stood out.
“Jacob Dorey. He impressed me. He continued to work all game long. He didn’t stop and created a lot for us tonight. Nik Bizzutto I thought played well too. He kept working.
It was nice to see Saether step up and be more physical at times, he needs to do more of that. Michael Sande had some moments, in fact all of our defensemen played well in spurts.”
The Outlaws fall to 7-12-0-2 and will play the Abbotsford Pilots at MSA on Friday. They’ll be without Sande, Jackson Waniek and Holden Wilkerson, all of them are serving a suspension.