PHOTO CREDIT DOUG ABBOTT
The Outlaws closed out 2016 with visits to Harry Jerome and Minaru arenas. Unfortunately, Santa didn’t leave any points under the Christmas tree with consecutive losses of 3-1 and 3-2, leaving the Laws win-less in their last four away from the friendly confines of MLC.
On Wednesday, the Outlaws and North Van Wolfpack picked up where they left off the previous Saturday with a feisty first period that yielded no goals, but 12 combined minutes in penalties.
North Van took a 1-0 lead just eight seconds into the second period, as Kaz Minemoto snuck behind the Outlaws defense and snapped a shot past Keaton Dyck.
They added to the lead 6:30 in the third, as Tanner Versluis blocked a shot at his blue line then went top-shelf in scoring. The Outlaws had chances to get on the board, but unfortunately Kyle Dosanj fanned on a shot alone in the slot, then Nic Bizzutto took a great feed and cut to the net, but couldn’t solve Alex Forster. Forster finished with 31 saves and was named first star with 31 saves.
They added one more thanks to Ian Creamore chopping a puck off the boards in his end which somehow found the stick of Tyler Lesage all alone in the Outlaws zone, who promptly scored.
The Outlaws had a scary moment the next shift.
Baylee Wright drew a holding penalty as Joshua Tak attempted to wrap him up behind the Pack net. Tak continued to stay with the Outlaws leading scorer, slammed Wright’s head into the boards from behind with his gloves and then pulled off a wrestling souplex to throw him dangerously to the ice. That drew the ire of Sammy Zeinab and a mini-scrum ensued. Tak surprisingly stayed in the game despite the head contact and the Outlaws failed to capitalize on the ensuing power play.
They would finally get on the board as Michael Hamm won a battle against Jackson Tadey along the boards near center ice. Hamm took the puck, slipped past the defender while driving to the net and sniped it home. Seven minutes still remained, but not enough time for the Outlaws to mount a comeback. Keaton Dyck made 34 saves.
The next night, they faced the Richmond Sockeyes with Matthew Trulsen in net, while the Fish countered with Merek Pipes. The Sockeyes keeper had a marvellous first period stopping all 13 shots he faced. Trulsen only allowed one of the 11 shots he faced to elude his grasp, a Brodie Crawford turn around wrister just outside the right face off circle.
The Outlaws struck twice in the second. Michael Hamm kept the puck in the Sockeyes zone with the Outlaws up a man. He would dangle both Emilio Salas and Brett Gelz before sending a screamer past Pipes. That goal somehow credited to Mathew Mason on the pjhl.net website, despite Mason being nowhere near the ice.
The other goal was the result of a great shift started by the Nathan McCarnan line that seemingly stayed inside the Sockeyes zone for an eternity. Holub came off the bench and finished off some wonderful cycling from Wright and Jackson Waniek by stepping from behind the net and sending a shot past Pipes.
The lead wouldn’t last long in the third period. Connor Alderson tipped a power play goal home two and a half minutes in, then Crawford scored his second of the game for what would stand as the game winner. The goal off of a scramble after the Outlaws failed to clear the zone. Trulsen made 32 saves, Pipes 28.
The Outlaws enter the Christmas break 7 points back of the Flames, with both teams having played 31 games.
The Outlaws play the Port Moody Panthers at 1 pm Jan 1rst, then the Wolf Pack at 1 pm Jan 3rd. Both games at Minaru Arena, and both can be viewed on playfullscreen.com if yoyu can’t make it in to Richmond.