By Ben Lypka
After kicking off 2016 with a loss, the Mission City Outlaws have again caught fire, and are riding a six-game winning streak.
Mission extended the run with wins on Thursday and Saturday.
The Outlaws blasted the Langley Knights 9-3 in Langley on Thursday, and outshot the Knights 58-28. They opened up a 2-0 lead in the first, added three in the second and four more in the third.
Forward Bryce Pisiak had a four-point night (two goals and two assists). Other Mission goal scorers included Tyler Wickman, Noah Wiebe, Sammy Zeinab, Ryan Sharma, Mitchell Biermann, Brody Dyck and Justin Bowerman.
Outlaws goalie Jeffrey Veitch made 25 saves for his ninth win on the year.
Mission then hosted the Ridge Meadows Flames on Saturday, and blanked them 5-0.
Outlaws head coach Brad Veitch said his special teams made a big difference in the win.
“I thought we played with a lot of energy and the penalty kill was outstanding,” he said. “We gave them a lot of opportunities, especially early, but we didn’t give them many chances on those power plays.”
Mission was shorthanded seven times, and killed off each opportunity.
“The guys in the last few games have bought into what we want them to be doing and have been playing with a lot of determination.”
The powerplay was also big for the Outlaws, as they scored a pair of goals with the man advantage. Veitch said the key has been keeping it simple.
“Our powerplay has been pretty consistent all year,” he said. “We stress to get traffic to the net and simplify it. That’s what led to both the powerplay goals on Saturday. We took the puck hard to the net, got a point shot through and had guys there to put in rebounds.”
Dyck scored both the powerplay goals against the Flames, with David McGowan adding two and Brock Padgham also scoring.
The game also marked the first shutout of the Pacific Junior Hockey League season for new Outlaws goalie Joshua Matzek. He was recently added to the team after Gunnar Nielsen was picked up by the Bonnyville Pontiacs of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Veitch said he’s been a good fit.
“He’s played with a lot of these guys in minor hockey and was out of junior hockey for the last year,” he said. “There’s only so many spots and when he didn’t get one local to him in Chilliwack, he just wasn’t playing. He’s a quality goalie and we’re happy to have him. He’s played very well for us in a small window.”
The pair of wins keep the Outlaws ahead of the second place Abbotsford Pilots in the Harold Brittain Conference. Both clubs have 53 points, but the Outlaws have more wins.
Mission and Abbotsford square off in Abbotsford on Friday, and Veitch said he’s more concerned with his team’s performance as opposed to the result.
“Obviously we’d like to get the win, but the result isn’t as important as how we play,” he said. “They’re all worth two points. As long as we play the way we want to play we will be happy.”
The two teams have met three times this season, with the Pilots winning twice. Mission then hosts the Grandview Steelers on Saturday at the Mission Leisure Centre. Face-off is set for 6:45 p.m.