Pilots forward Chris Vinette celebrates after opening the scoring against the Victoria Cougars in the first period on Thursday. The Cougars rallied

Bannister’s hat trick powers Cougars past Pilots in Cyclone Taylor Cup opener

One game into the Cyclone Taylor Cup, the host Abbotsford Pilots are already into must-win territory.

One game into the Cyclone Taylor Cup, the host Abbotsford Pilots are already into must-win territory.

They can blame Chris Bannister for that. The Victoria Cougars forward had a monster game on Thursday evening, scoring all three of his team’s goals in a 3-2 win over the Pilots at MSA Arena. It was the first round-robin game for both teams at the provincial junior B hockey championship tourney.

Bannister’s last goal came with 8:40 left in the third period, as he pounced on a loose puck in a goalmouth scramble and poked it past Pilots goalie Aaron Oakley to snap a 2-2 tie.

Abbotsford had a golden opportunity to level the score in the late going when the Cougars were whistled for a pair of overlapping penalties – a boarding call on Josh Wyatt, and a double-minor for spearing on Steven Axford.

But goalie Evan Roch and the Cougars kept the Pilots at bay, and the Vancouver Island champs escaped with the victory.

“On all three goals they got, we seemed to be running around (in the defensive zone),” noted Pilots head coach Jim Cowden, whose team got goals from Chris Vinette and Kevin Lourens. “And it cost us.”

In the early game on Thursday, the Delta Ice Hawks and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks battled to a 1-1 draw. The Ice Hawks out-shot the Kootenay champs 44-35, and opened the scoring on a power-play goal from John Procter late in the first period. But the Nitehawks salvaged the tie when Dallas Calvin tallied at 16:30 of the second.

On Friday, the round robin continues with Victoria and Beaver Valley clashing at 3 p.m., followed by Pacific International Junior Hockey League rivals Delta and Abbotsford locking horns at 7:30 p.m.

The teams with the two best records advance to the final, which puts the Pilots in a must-win situation.

Just Posted

Autism support dog helps Langford boy hold his head high

Family shares story for Autism Awareness Month

Give your immunity a boost for National Immunization Awareness Week

Immunize Canada calls on Canadians to stay up to date with their immunizations

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Families hop over to Easter celebrations at Millstream Village

Annual Easter Eggstravaganza had lineups before 11 a.m.

Parishioners bear the weight of a large wooden cross on Good Friday

Good Friday Passion Procession winds through streets of Victoria

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read