Sports

Kodiaks claw out a pair of playoff wins vs. Pilots

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As they head back home, the Abbotsford Pilots are looking for answers against the Aldergrove Kodiaks.

The Kodiaks took the first two games of their Pacific Junior Hockey League semifinal series at Aldergrove Community Arena, thumping the Pilots 7-2 on Tuesday and winning 2-0 on Wednesday behind a 26-save shutout from Jordan Liem.

Games 3 and 4 run Friday and Saturday at MSA Arena (7:30 p.m. start both nights). Game 5, if necessary, would be next Wednesday back in Aldergrove (7:15 p.m.).

"They've got a very good team, no question," acknowledge Pilots coach Jim Cowden, whose team was out-shot 40-28 on Tuesday and 43-26 on Wednesday.

"We have to play at our best to beat those guys. They have a lot of experience, and a lot of guys who have been in the league for four years.

"But they're not unbeatable by any stretch. I thought last night, we had some glorious chances that we just didn't bury. Their goalie played well, and their whole team is playing well. It's going to take a whole team effort to get by them."

The Pilots got goals by Clayton Lake and Eric Wieking on Tuesday, but the Kodiaks rolled behind a three-point night from Robert Jang (one goal, two assists).

The next night they got a terrific goaltending performance from William Latimer (41 saves), but were unable to get anything past Liem.

Cowden is hopeful the return of forward Brady Lawlor, who missed the first two games of the series due to a suspension, boosts the team on Friday.

"He's got some skill, he's gritty, and he brings a lot to our team," Cowden said.

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