The Outlaws won their seventh straight game at MLC Saturday in a 7-3 victory over the Port Moody Panthers.
If this was an edition of Sesame Street, it would have been brought to you by the number three. There were three goal games for a pair of Outlaws snipers, three goals scored twice in the span of less than a minute and just three shots mustered by the Outlaws in the second period (but they scored on two of them).
It was an ominous start for the Outlaws, facing the Panthers for the second time in January. Jackson Waniek took a slashing penalty five seconds into the game. Waniek would atone for his infraction in a big way on the scoreboard as the game rolled along.
The Outlaws killed off that penalty, in fact they snuffed out all six opportunities the Panthers held up a man. Not surprising in that the Outlaws have only allowed two power play goals in 42 chances since the Winter Classic.
The hosts opened the scoring seven minutes into the first. Kyle Dosanj spotted Nic Bizzutto in the slot and he ripped a heavy shot past Riley Welyk, the Panthers net minder. Nathan McCarnan the second assist at 7:16.
As Gary Sande announced the goal over the loud speakers, Dosanj played provider to Bizzutto, who took a pass as the trailer with McCarnan tied up in the slot. Bizzutto went top shelf for his second goal in 22 seconds.
The Outlaws added to the lead :18 seconds later. Jackson Waniek slipped out from the left boards and fooled Welyk five hole. Justin Bowerman and Michal Holub setting the play up. 3-0 with 12 minutes and four seconds still left in the opening period.
The Outlaws struck next up a man as Stefano Centanni went to the box for boarding Sammy Zeinab mid way through the first. Zeinab exacted some revenge by firing a one time shot home, set up Waniek and Ryan Sharma at 12:21.
The Panthers responded quickly, and in rapid succession. First Cameron Judson broke in 2-on-1, held the puck and found a seam past Matt Trulsen, who was starting his fourth straight game. That goal 11 seconds after the Zeinab marker.
That spurred on the Cats, as Brady Morrison finished off a terrific pass from Chong Min Lee :33 later to make it 4-2.
Trulsen made 12 saves, Welyk with 13.
The Panthers came out with a lot of jump in the second, but Trulsen slammed the door shut. No red lights in the middle frame until the Outlaws were up a man. Waniek one timed a wrist shot through Welyk’s wickets set up by Holub. Sharma the other assist at 17:40.
Flash ahead nine seconds and Bizzutto completed the hat trick. Off the face off, the puck bounced over the Panthers defender’s stick. Bizzutto broke in 2-on-1, held the puck and slipped it in on the backhand. 6-2 after 40. Shots 12-3 Panthers.
The Outlaws came close to expanding their lead ten minutes into the third. Waniek and Holub were against a lone Panthers defender. However Welyk made a big stop and the puck went back the other way. The Panthers top gun, Daniel Szapowski hammered a slap shot in after winning a loose puck at the Outlaws blueline. 6-3.
The Outlaws sealed the deal and Waniek got his ‘trick on a lovely feed from Holub, who channeled his inner Gretzky to the tune of four assists on the evening. Waniek was sent in at 15:12 on the breakaway and made no mistake, his patience paying off for the 7-3 lead, and win.
Trulsen made 37 saves, while Welyk finished with 24.
After the game Nic Bizzutto, who has 11 goals in 11 games for the Outlaws and 15 overall said having so many people contribute both on the scoresheet and in the little things that don’t make the sheet is making hockey very enjoyable for him.
“It’s a great feeling to be doing well. I love my line mates, we’re making plays and that’s leading to easy goals for me.”
Defenceman Mike Hamm says the Outlaws style of play, especially at home, is one of the big factors in success here.
“We’re hard to play against, and everybody (in the league) admits it. All the people we know on other teams tell us that they don’t like playing us…because of hard we are to play against. They don’t enjoy being bruised at the end of the game.”
Jackson Waniek is second on the team with 19 goals. He says the win at MSA the previous night was a springboard to beating the Panthers this eveing.
“It gave us a lot of confidence, knowing that we could face them in the playoffs. We match up well against them and should help us in our push for third.”
Coach Brad Veitch commented on the Outlaws start, and a few players that got their game going tonight.
“We didn’t come out very well, but we were able to bury our opportunities. It was nice to see Jackson get hot. And the fact that Nic is still an 18 year old and produced like that tonight was great. He’s been snake-bitten lately. He and Kyle Dosanj played really well together.”
He thought goal-tending was very good again.
“This was the first time we have kind of rode one guy, and Matt has dictated that. His last seven starts his save percentage has been well above 900. He’s been winning and giving the guys lots of confidence.”
Next up is a massive game at Cam Neely arena in Maple Ridge on Friday. The Flames and Outlaws are deadlocked at 40 points a piece, however the Flames have a game in hand. They’ll use that on Thursday, in Surrey against the winless Knights.