PHOTOS COURTESY OF JEFF DYCK
The Outlaws are finding new ways to win on their current three game spree. On Friday, they built a 3-0 lead in Maple Ridge then rode the brilliant goal tending of Matthew Trulsen to a win. On Saturday, they spotted Abbotsford a 4-0 lead before storming back to claim the game in extra time.
Let’s rewind to the most recent win. The Pilots were heavily favored on paper coming into the game. They had won all three previous meetings this year by a combined score of 19-9.
The first period at the MLC carried on the trend, as the visitors scored four times in a span of 10:22, which cost starting goalie Keaton Dyck the chance to finish the game. He was hardly to blame early on, as Brady Morton finished off what became a 2 on 0 after the Outlaws defender slipped to open the scoring. The next was a Carter Shannon backhand top-shelf. That was followed by a Kyle Lennea snap shot after a great pass from Noah Wiebe behind the net and rounded out by a Kellan Lavallee low wrist shot to the blocker side, perhaps the only one Dyck wishes he was more alert on.
Matthew Trulsen was summoned with 7 minutes remaining in the first to ride the rest of the storm out. The switch seemed to wake up his team mates.
The Outlaws got on the board with just over three minutes left, thanks to Jackson Waniek converting his own rebound past Jacob Crawford. Jacob Dorey and Nic Bizzutto with the assists.
In the second period, the physical play picked up while just one red lamp was lit. Captain Ryan Sharma credited with a shot that pin-balled its way past Crawford. Baylee Wright and Michal Holub the helpers on the power play at 14:08.
The Outlaws continued to claw their way back in the final 20 minutes of regulation. Justin Bowerman made it a one goal game with 3:13 left after poking a bouncing puck past Crawford, set up by Nathan McCarnan and Michael Nemeth.
Then with time winding down and Trulsen on the bench for the extra attacker, Wright put a pass on a silver platter for Sammy Zeinab, who was left alone at the side of the net. He scored as the crowd went bananas. Holub the other assist at 18:58.
In overtime, the Captain would steer the ship to an extra point. Wright won a face off in the Pilots end and fed Sharma, who sniped home the winner and brought the Outlaws to within 4 points of the Flames with a game in hand.
Trulsen stopped all 28 shots he faced and was named 3rd star. Crawford made 28 saves.
After the game Sharma said he was pleased to see his team not give up after a poor start.
“We came out flat by giving them a four goal lead but we told ourselves there was still plenty of hockey to play. We slowly chipped away at it…we knew we were a good team if we play the way we are supposed to. We just have to remember to all be on the same page.”
As for playing a team like the Pilots who have become masters at infuriating their opposition over the years?
“It’s pretty tough, I mean when guys are sticking you…you’ve got to be able to take it and not retaliate.” Sharma stated.
“I know I have taken some dumb penalties myself (retaliating), so that message is as much a reminder for me as it is for the team.”
Sammy Zeinab scored the tying goal and said he sensed the team would fight their way back, based on what he saw from his team mates.
“Just the feeling on the bench, nobody was down, we had McCarnan leading the boys in getting pumped. I love that guy… he never gives up! We came back in the room after the second intermission and we knew we were going to come back despite still being down two and win. ”
Tied with a red-hot Holub for second in assists on the team with 20, the winger from Surrey in his last season expanded on his thoughts on why they’ve been more successful lately.
The last three games we have started coming together as a team and that’s what we really needed.”
Coach Brad Veitch echoed Zeinab’s thoughts on the game.
“Talk about digging yourself a hole the first 15 minutes. Even still, we didn’t feel we were getting out-played. We felt like we sere stubbing our toe and they were burying every chance we gave them.”
Veitch talked about the impact Trulsen had on the outcome.
“I thought after the first 5 minutes, he was zoned in. He made some huge saves for us, we knew we couldn’t allow another one and he shut the door the rest of the way, allowed us to battle back.”
“Our workers worked and got us back in that game. Justin Bowerman scored a Justin Bowerman goal, he went hard to the net and picked up an ugly rebound and some how banged, smacked and whacked it home. Zeinab also just worked, worked, worked…he got us a late power play, scored the tying goal… it was those types of players that got us back.”
The Outlaws held the Pilots to 0/5 on the power play including a lengthy 5-on-3, while they went 1/6.
On Friday, the Outlaws Kyle Mooney scored in the first at the Cam Neeley arena.
Baylee Wright added two more in the second as the Outlaws defeated the Flames 3-1. Trulsen made 41 saves, as the Outlaws held the Flames scoreless on five man advantages while going 1/3. Holub added 3 assists, now has 8 points in his last 4 games.
Next up is a visit to Delta on Tuesday.