Thanks to COVID-19 and regional cohorts, the Chilliwack Jets are seeing a whole lot of the Mission City Outlaws.
That hasn’t been a good thing for the expansion junior B hockey club, which has struggled to keep pace with their battle-tested foes.
The Jets (1-3-0-0) dropped a pair of games to the Outlaws (3-0-0-1) on the weekend, starting with a 5-3 road loss Saturday night at the Mission Leisure Centre.
Chilliwack stayed close in this one. After falling behind 2-0 through 20 minutes on goals by Brayden Stewart (Abbotsford) and Kyle Sackmann (Pitt Meadows), the Jets rallied to tie the game on second period goals by Bryant Joseph (Chilliwack) and Caleb Garet (Okotoks, Alberta).
But despite out-shooting Mission by a 9-5 count in the final frame, it was the Outlaws scored three times to get the win.
Dylan Tonks (Chilliwack) gave them a 3-2 lead at 1:24 and Justin Hargrave (Abbotsford) doubled it at 6:40.
Chilliwack’s Rhett Bergseth (Sedgewick, Alberta) scored at 15:21 to make it a one goal game, and the Jets were set to finish the game on the power play after Mission’s Blake Bryce (Chilliwack) was flagged for delay of game at 18:23. But opportunity turned to anguish when Dawson Reinfjell (Abbotsford) iced the game with a killer shorthanded goal.
Brayden Melnyk (Chilliwack) took the loss in net, stopping 23 of 28 shots, while Brian Dale (Mission) earned the win for the Outlaws with a 20 save performance.
Sunday’s rematch at the Sardis Sports Complex was a rough one for the Jets, who fell 6-1.
Chilliwack out-shot Mission 34-33, but Outlaws keeper Daniel Zuvic (Maple Ridge) was outstanding. Jason Bowen (Chilliwack) was the lone local to beat him, scoring on a power play 41 seconds into period three.
Mission got first period goals from Bryce and Chase Newman, a second period tally from Justin Plett (Abbotsford) and third period snipes from Plett, Jayden Martin (Abbotsford) and Tonks.
“The team is working harder, but we’re just not getting any breaks and spending far too much time in the penalty box,” said Jets hockey boss Clayton Robinson. “The officiating all weekend was poor and one-sided but we will just have to work harder and hopefully things will change. We are playing a veteran team and we are for the most part remaining competitive. Our group will continue to learn every game and continually get better. The wins will start to come shortly.”
Chilliwack has the Outlaws again this weekend with another home-and-home that starts Saturday night in Mission and bounces back to the Sardis Sports Complex Sunday.
Puck drop for the home game is 5 p.m.
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