It was a big night for the Aldergrove Kodiaks Wednesday at Aldergrove Arena as they stormed their way to a 4-3 overtime victory over the Abbotsford Pilots.
Bolstered by a new lineup on the bench and pulling out all the stops on the ice, the Kodiaks finally snapped a losing streak that had them mired at the bottom end of the league, a place the team is not accustomed to in its ten year history.
It was also assistant captain Clayton Schroeder’s night to shine, with a perfect hat trick that saw him score the game’s first goal, a short-handed goal in the second period, as well as the overtime winner, to claim the game’s first star.
Kodiak captain Matt Oliver was second star with a goal and an assist.
Despite having to deal with nine penalties while enjoying only three power plays in the game the Kodiaks gave the Pilots a good run, and managed to outshoot the Pilots by one, 38-37. Kodiak keeper Michael Lauriente did his part in stopping 33 of the Pilots’ shots, especially in the second period when the Pilots only scored on one of their five power plays.
It was the kind of team play that will turn the Kodiaks’ fortunes around if they keep it up.
The Kodiaks have acquired two new forwards from the Richmond Sockeyes, Austin Cook and Brendan Marfleet, and both proved good assets that night.
The Kodiaks were up 1-0 in the first period, with Schroeder scoring, assisted by Jesse Conroy and Matt Oliver. The team also had two penalty kills in the period, compared to none for the Pilots.
Th Pilots finally scored on a power play midway through the second period, but the Kodiaks responded with their own power play goal by Oliver and a short-handed goal by Schroeder to end the period 3-1 for the Kodiaks. Kodiak assists came from Ty Pickering, Kyle Bosko (2) and Davin Padgham.
The Pilots finally turned on their engines in the third period, scoring three in a row for a 4-3 lead, but Kodiak David Stickney evened it up at 18:07 to take the game into overtime. Stickney’s assists came from Jacob De Waal and Pickering.
Overtime saw end-to-end action with three shots on goal for both teams before Schroeder put it into Gunnar Neilsen’s net at 4:16, with assists from Arjan Cheema and Bosko.
Pilots Baylee Wright was the game’s third star for a pair of assists. Wright is the league’s leader with 54 points in 24 games, and Kodiak Oliver is third in the league with 40 points in 23 games. Kodiak Bosko is sixth with 34 points in 22 games, while Schroeder is 19th with 23 points in 22 games.
The game result improves the Kodiaks to 19 points after 23 games (8-12-1-2), while the Pilots and Ridge Meadows Flames share the top of the division with 35 points after 25 games, each.
There won’t be a Kodiaks home game next Wednesday, as they travel to George Preson arena to play the Langley Trappers on Dec. 6, 7 p.m.
The Kodiaks then play the Flames at Planet Ice on Dec. 8, before returning to Adergrove arena on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7:15 p.m. to host the North Vancouver Wolf Pack.
Kodiaks’ remaining games this month are Dec. 16 at Port Moody Panthers; at home Dec. 20 against the Grandview Steelers; away at North Vancouver on Dec. 22; and at home Dec. 27 against the league-leading (44 points after 24 games) Delta Ice Hawks.