BY: BEN LYPKA – BLACK PRESS
For the first time in franchise history, the Mission City Outlaws are Harold Brittain conference champions.
The club clinched the regular season banner with a 5-2 win over the Abbotsford Pilots, in front of a packed house at the Mission Leisure Centre.
The teams traded four goals in the first period, with Baylee Wright and Noah Weibe putting the Outlaws ahead, only to have the Pilots tie the game up twice.
Mission took over in the second period, scoring a pair of power play goals and one even strength to pull ahead 5-2. The second period outburst proved to be enough for the win.
Kolby Steen, Bryce Pisiak and David McGowan all tallied for the Outlaws. Head coach Brad Veitch said the second period was the difference.
“We started really slow and it was their lack of discipline in the second period that really opened up the game for us,” he said. “We were able to capitalize on some of their bad penalties and that put the game out of reach.”
Veitch said the win is the culmination of years of effort from the many veterans on the Outlaws.
“I’m proud of these guys,” he said. “A lot of them have been here for a few years, and when they first came here this team was in the bottom. I think it means a lot for the guys in the room. It all started back in August, this was the goal so for them to achieve that goal over such a long period of time is great for them.”
He added that it’s been a huge turnaround for the organization. The Outlaws won only eight games in 2012-13, 11 in 2013-14, broke through last year with 21 wins, and set a new franchise record with 32 this year.
“For the organization it shows all the work we’ve done the last few years,” he said. “We’ve built to this moment. We took a big step last year and we’re trying to build a winning culture here.
“They’re a good, hard-working team and playoffs are a whole different animal,” Veitch said.
The series opens in Mission on Tuesday. Read the print edition of the Mission City Record for more on this game and the series.