Contributed by Gideon Hill
The Mission City Outlaws defeated the Surrey Knights 4-1 on Saturday night, their first without leading scorer and star Baylee Wright and first true home game of the New Year (after a “home” game in Richmond during the Winter Showcase).
The remaining games for Mission will be a transition period for fans and former team mates used to the sight of number 19 flying down the wing, hair flowing and hands dazzling opposition defenders.
Without Wright the team seemed more willing to play a crash and bang style of play. This was evident on Saturday in their not so resounding victory over the winless Surrey on the season (including this game, making them 0-34 on the season with two of those losses coming in ot).
Michal Holub scored the first goal of the game after a great pass in front by Sammy Zeinab and he deflected it past Surrey goaltender Robert Nawrot as Holub was hit hard in front.
Surrey replied 2 minutes later on a power play, where they were a previous 1 for 154 on the road. A miscue from behind the Outlaws net saw the puck richocchet off an unsuspecting Trevor Sundher and under a helpless Keaton Dyck to gift Surrey the equalizer at 7:53 of the first. The Outlaws shook off the bad bounce when Matthew Mason, who was named second star of this hockey game, fed former former Surrey Knight captain Nicolas Bizzutto, who in turn fed Tyler Wickman. He wired a slap shot high glove side on Nawrot at 15:16 of the 1st intermission. That would be all for scoring in the first.
The second period was a quieter one on the scoreboard but the fans were still treated to some big hits. Surrey’s Jeevan Dosange came close by ringing one off the post and reminded the Outlaws this outcome was far from certain.
Mission City got much needed relief and breathing room between them and Surrey in an otherwise sloppy performancethanks to Justin Bowerman, with 15 seconds left in the 2nd period, as he tipped a loose puck in front over the line.
The third period would be the most entertaining as Mission came out of their shell quite a bit, and got their 4th and final goal of the game. Jacob Dorey received a nice pass in front from Nic Bizzutto and he sent a greasy tap in past Robert Nawrot, who was exceptional until this point.
On a night when Mission were missing six regulars, affiliate player Dayton Spink got an assist, on Dorey’s third goal in as many games.
Goaltender Keaton Dyck made 29 saves in winning his sixth of the season. He says hard work helped the Outlaws avoid a fifth straight loss.
“I was pretty happy with how hard the boys competed…came together to help us get out of the slump we were in. Even when we had that bad break (with Holub’s pass going in behind Dyck) I wasn’t worried. because of how hard we were working, especially on our penalty kill. Give Surrey credit though, they’ve given a few teams a run for their money and Nawrot has been incredible in some of those games. We had to grind this one out.”
Defenceman Brenden Saether says attention to detail played a big role in the two points, which has the Outlaws eight points back of the Flames with 10 games left.
“We got pucks deep, got on the forecheck good. We were strong in the D zone and on the penalty kill. Surrey played much better than the last time we saw them, but Dyck stood in there and made some big saves. It was good to get a win.
4-1 would be the final as the Surrey Knights are now winless in their last 54 games stretching back to last season. They’ll try and break that skid on the ever lucky Friday the 13th of January, against these same Mission City Outlaws.