The Mission City Outlaws are in the drivers seat in round one of the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Despite being the lower ranked team, Mission has jumped out to a 3-1 series lead on the Langley Trappers in the best-of-seven contest, with the Outlaws needing just one more victory to advance to round two.
But game one on Feb. 12 in Langley didn’t go to plan, as the Outlaws battled back after trailing 3-0 to tie the game up only to lose a 5-4 heartbreaker.
Mission got goals from Justin Plett, Dawson Reinfjell, Matthew Konrad and Dylan Tonks. Langley’s Jacob Astles was the overtime hero.
The Outlaws outshot Langley 51-30 in the game, and Langley goalie Ajeetpal Gundarah was named the game’s first star after making 47 saves.
Game two shifted to the Mission Leisure Centre on Saturday, with the Outlaws exploding for three goals in the first period to earn the 4-2 win.
Konrad opened the scoring and Plett added two goals in the first, with Dylan Stoltz contributing with an insurance goal late in the third. Both Konrad and Plett had three point nights and Stoltz collected two points.
Outlaws goalie Isaac Elias made 27 saves to record the win.
Game three was another high scoring affair in Langley, but this time the Outlaws skated away with the 6-5 win in overtime.
Stoltz scored the lone goal of the first period, and the teams then traded six goals in the middle frame. Mission got goals from Dylan Devers, Dawson Campbell and Jayden Martin and were up 4-3 after 40 minutes.
Langley jumped out to a 5-4 lead early into the third, but Mission’s Michael Nemeth tied the game up with just 58 seconds to go to send the game to overtime. Konrad was the overtime hero for the Outlaws, as he scored 4:05 into the extra frame to give the Outlaws the 2-1 series lead.
Mission’s power play was the difference in game three, as the club connected three times with the man advantage. Elias made 20 saves in the win, but Mission again outshot Langley 36-25.
Tuesday’s game four at the MLC was all Outlaws, as the club scored four unanswered goals to open the game and cruised to the 7-4 win.
Plett scored a hat trick in the first period and Stoltz also scored in the opening frame. Devers, Reinfjell and Stoltz then added goals in the third. The power plays for both teams were effect on Tuesday, as Langley scored four times and Mission scored three.
Mission actually ran Gundarah out of the net on Tuesday, after he allowed four goals in the first period. Stoltz had an excellent game with five points, and Konrad collected four assists. Mission’s Daniel Zuvic made 31 saves for his first career PJHL playoff win.
Outlaws players have made an impact early into the playoff scoring leaders race, as Konrad leads the league with 10 points in four games. Plett and Stoltz are tied for second with eight points apiece. Plett also leads the league with six goals in four games.
Mission can wrap up the series on Thursday night in Langley. Game six, if necessary, is set for Saturday at the MLC. Face-off would be at 6:45 p.m. Game seven, if needed, would occur in Langley on Feb. 26.
The winner of the Mission-Langley series will then take on the Aldergrove Kodiaks, who completed a sweep of the Ridge Meadows Flames on Sunday night.