Sports

Season starts with a split

North Delta Devils players Adam Nishi (27), Tanner Lenting (4) and Matthew Denton check a pair of Abbotsford Pilots opponents in front of netminder Alex Ahnert during Friday’s PIJHL game in Abbotsford. The Pilots won 5-3 in the first game of the year for both teams.  - JOHN MORROW / BLACK PRESS
North Delta Devils players Adam Nishi (27), Tanner Lenting (4) and Matthew Denton check a pair of Abbotsford Pilots opponents in front of netminder Alex Ahnert during Friday’s PIJHL game in Abbotsford. The Pilots won 5-3 in the first game of the year for both teams.
— image credit: JOHN MORROW / BLACK PRESS

Wins and losses don’t define a team in preseason play, especially the North Delta Devils.

The Pacific International Junior Hockey League team lost all four exhibition games, scoring just three goals along the way.

But in the first two regular season contests, the Devils tallied seven times, losing 5-3 on the road against the Abbotsford Pilots Friday night before winning on home ice 4-1 against the Ridge Meadows Flames Saturday night at the Sungod Arena.

The powerplay helped Devils battled back from a two goal deficit in Abbotsford Friday night, but two goals in the last 30 seconds of play allowed the Pilots to escape with the win.

The home team jumped to a 2-0 lead just seven minutes into the game, then after Adam Nishi put North Delta on the scoreboard, Abbotsford tallied again for a 3-1 lead after 30 minutes.

Manuveer Mahil cut the difference in half just 73 seconds into the second frame with the first Devils powerplay goal of the contest. He netted another goal with the extra man with 11 minutes to play to knot the score at 3-3.

The only Pilots powerplay goal of the contest was the winner, coming with 30 seconds to play. They closed out the scoring with four seconds left on the clock.

North Delta was two-for-three on the powerplay, and killed off two of three shorthanded situations. Abbotsford outshot the Devils 35-24. Veteran Alex Ahnert took the loss in the Devils goal, making 30 saves.

A day later in their first home game of the season, North Delta allowed the Flames to score first and take a 1-0 lead into the dressing room after the first period. It was all Devils after that, as the home side tallied twice in each of the last two periods, outshooting their guests 36-22.

Matthew Denton tied the game less than two minutes into the seconcd period, and Colin Catchpole netted what would be the winning goal just 48 seconds later.

Darren Asuncion and Jacob Wesley added insurance goals in the third period.

The Devils converted their lone powerplay opportunity, and shut down the Flames on their one attempt.

Harry Fredeman made his first start in goal in a Devils uniform, getting the win with 33 saves.

North Delta will host the Mission Ice Breakers next Saturday at 6:45 p.m. in the Sungod Arena. The Ice Breakers have lost their first two contests by an aggregate score of 9-1.

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