It’s must-win time for the Mission City Outlaws.
The clubs sits three points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, and will have to leapfrog both the Aldergrove Kodiaks and the Langley Trappers if they want to qualify for the postseason.
The expansion Trappers are three points up on both the Outlaws and Kodiaks, Langley has four games left in the season, while Aldergrove has five and Mission has just four.
But the Outlaws can throw a monkey wrench into the Kodiaks playoff hopes at the Mission Leisure Centre on Saturday. Face-off is set for 6:45 p.m. The Outlaws need to win and not allow the game to head into overtime.
Mission didn’t do themselves any favours in their playoff push by dropping games last week on Friday and Saturday.
The Outlaws were blanked 4-0 by the Ridge Meadows Flames in Maple Ridge on Friday, and yanked starting goalie Matthew Trulsen after he allowed four goals on 18 shots. Mitchell Davis stopped all 10 shots he faced in relief, but the Outlaws couldn’t solve Flames goalie Cooper Anderson despite firing 30 shots at him.
Ridge Meadows scored once in the first, and then added three goals in the second period to earn the win.
The club returned to action at home on Saturday, but couldn’t overcome a poor second period to lose 4-3 to the Richmond Sockeyes.
Mission’s Justin Hargrave opened the scoring at 7:18 of the first, but Richmond’s Nicolas Bizzutto scored his first of three straight goals spread out over the first and second period to put the Sockeyes up 3-1. The Outlaws managed just four shots on goal in the second period, and allowed a pair of power play goals in the period.
After falling behind 4-1 early in the third, the Outlaws fought back with goals from Terrance Josephson and Kyle Mooney to make it 4-3, but that’s as close as Mission would get.
Outlaws goalie Matthew Trulsen made 40 saves in the loss, and Mission was outshot 44-20 overall.
Mission defender Haydn Downing said more urgency is needed from his team.
“We had a great third period, but if we played that way the rest of the game I think we could have come out with a win,” he said. “But unfortunately that’s not what we did tonight and it showed on the scoreboard.”
The Outlaws also have games against the Surrey Knights on Feb. 9 and the Flames on Feb. 10, games they likely must win to ensure a spot in the playoffs.