The Mission City Outlaws took a big step forward in their playoff push on Saturday.
Mission hosted the Grandview Steelers and a strong defensive performance saw the Outlaws pick up a 2-1 win.
Outlaws forward Maximilian Corazza got Mission on the board at 5:20 of the first period, and that goal held up until 8:36 of the third when Justin Bowerman made it 2-0 for the home team. Grandview added a power play goal at 17:40, but that was as close as the Steelers would get.
Mission held Grandview to just four shots in the second period, but the Steelers still managed to outshoot the Outlaws 30-26. Outlaws goalie Matthew Trulsen made 29 saves to earn his 11th win of the season, establishing a new personal record for wins in one season. He won 10 games in 2016-17.
Trulsen said it was an important win for the team.
“The boys played much better and we’re starting to play playoff hockey,” he said. “We kept up the tempo all game and it was a good earned win.”
Trulsen’s save percentage improved to a sparkling .927 after the victory, good for second overall in the PJHL. Bowerman, the first star of the game, was the lone player to record a multi-point game.
Outlaws assistant coach Jordan Chase said he thinks the team has made big strides in recent outings.
“I liked our intensity tonight and in the last couple of games,” he said. “It’s nice to see our boys play with some urgency. But we can’t take stupid penalties, power play goals are just killing us.”
Mission remains tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Langley Trappers.
As of press time, both teams have 31 points but the Trappers have one game in hand. Right behind both the Trappers and Outlaws is the Aldergrove Kodiaks, who have 29 points. Only one of the three teams will qualify for the postseason.
With only five games left in the season, basically every game is a must-win for the Outlaws and that trend continues this weekend with games in Maple Ridge against the Ridge Meadows Flames on Friday and at home against the Richmond Sockeyes on Saturday.
Face-off for Saturday’s game is set for 6:45 p.m. at the Mission Leisure Centre.