The Mission City Outlaws will face off against the Ridge Meadows Flames in a best-of-seven series to advance past the first round of the PJHL playoffs this week. The opening game is set for Wednesday night (Feb. 22) at Cam Neely Planet Ice Arena at 8:15 p.m.
The Outlaws closed out the season in fine form, winning eight of their last 10 games heading into the playoffs. The Flames won their last two games of the regular season against stiff competition, defeating the defending champion Langley Trappers and the Tom Shaw conference two-seed Richmond Sockeyes.
Ridge Meadows enter the series as the two-seed in the Harold Brittain conference after finishing the season with a 31-14-2-1 record while the Outlaws come in as the three seed with a 28-20 record.
The Flames bring a high-powered offense to the table after ranking third in the PJHL in goals scored and goal differential. The squad was exceptional on the power play, operating with a league-best 29.7 per cent efficiency and 63 goals.
The dangerous power play will match up against Mission’s penalty kill, which finished second in the PJHL at 83.2 per cent. Meanwhile, Mission finished eighth in goals scored, and sixth in goals against/differential.
The two teams matched up four times in the regular season, resulting in a 2-2 split. The Flames won the first two games early in the season with a 4-0 win on Sep. 16 and a 5-1 on Oct. 1. Later in the season, the Outlaws bounced back against Ridge Meadows with 4-3 and 5-3 victories.
Captain Chase Newman led the Outlaws’ offense during the regular season with 42 points from a team-high 20 goals and 22 assists. Cayden Karcioglu notched a team-high 26 assists for Mission while Jayden Martin led Mission defencemen with 30 points.
Forwards Theo Kochan, Jack Foster and Jordan Kujala will be focal points for the Flames’ attack. Kochan finished fifth in the league’s scoring race with 77 points and his 39 goals were just three shy of the league lead. Foster was 10th in points with 70 and fifth in assists with 48. Meanwhile, Kujala scored a PJHL-best 19 power play goals during the regular season.
Between the pipes, Mission looks to the duo of Brian Dale and Max Fowle. The pair split time in nets this season, with Dale going 14-9 in 24 games played and Fowle finishing 14-11 in 25 games played. Dale is fresh off of a PJHL Player of the Week nod after a pair of 40-plus save performances. Meanwhile, Ridge Meadows will rely on Cam Connolly. In 32 games played, Connolly posted a 19-9-2 record, 2.98 goals against average and an .894 save percentage.
All games stream online HokceyTv with game two slated for Friday (Feb. 24) at Cam Neely Arena Planet Ice at 7:30 p.m. The Outlaws return home for games three and four at Mission Leisure Centre on Saturday (Feb. 25) a 6:45 p.m. and Tuesday (Feb. 28) at 7:00 p.m.