Big games from Christopher Vinette and Brad Anderson helped the Abbotsford Pilots finish off the Mission Icebreakers on Thursday evening.
Vinette scored the first two goals of the game, and Anderson stopped all 25 shots the Icebreakers sent his way in a 4-0 victory at Mission Leisure Centre. The win enabled the Pilots to wrap up the best-of-seven first round playoff series, 4-2.
Pilots head coach Jim Cowden called the Icebreakers a “pesky” foe, and hoped the series would serve as a learning experience for his team.
“They battled us hard, and it could have gone either way,” he said. “But we got better with each game. We came together as a unit, not playing as much as individuals.”
Kevin Lourens and Brad Parker also scored for the Pilots, who await the winner of the Ridge Meadows-Port Moody series in the second round. That series is tied 3-3, with Game 7 set for tonight.
Cowden said the Pilots would likely open the series on the road Saturday, with Game 2 running on Tuesday at MSA Arena at 7 p.m.
Vinette, a key penalty killer for the Pilots, is one of the team’s unsung heroes. His offensive contribution on Thursday capped a series where, in Cowden’s estimation, he was perhaps the Pilots’ best forward.
Likewise, goaltender Anderson excelled for Abbotsford throughout the Mission series.
“He’s been very focused, and he’s played well all year,” Cowden said.