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Hawks bring down Pilots

Offence wasn’t a problem for the Delta Ice Hawks on Tuesday night, as they broke out, defeating the Abbotsford Pilots 9-1 in front of the home crowd.

Seven different Hawks had goals in the blowout, which was a welcome sight for head coach Steve Robinson.

“It felt good to see the guys all being involved, being engaged, and scoring some goals,” he said. “A lot of guys that needed to get one, got one, so it was definitely just what the doctor ordered… It’s good to get a good win and two good points.”

The Hawks jumped off to a good start, getting shots and pressure on Abbotsford goalie Brock Machholz early. Mark Epshtein had the only goal in the frame though, a short-handed, back-handed beauty on a pass from Austin Kofler late in the frame.

Ji-Hwan Kim made an impact in his first home game this season, playing his first game of the year last Sunday in Grandview. He scored two power play goals back-to-back to double then subsequently triple the Hawks’ lead to 3-0.

Abbotsford’s Devon Wolfe scored a short-handed goal for the Pilots to break the shutout, but Brice Kemp scored seconds later on a tic-tac-toe play from Ryan Bayley to retake the three-goal lead.

Ryan Xu and Brad Fortin added to the pile of Hawks goals in the middle frame. Xu tipped in a perfect pass from Truman Chiu for his first goal of the season. Epshtein was low in the Pilots’ zone when Fortin glided in unchecked. Epshtein passed to the wide-open Fortin, who scored Delta’s second short-handed goal of the night.

The home team added two more firsts on the season in the third period: Stephen Chen scored on a wrap-around against Pilots back-up goalie Noah Masog, and Cole Bromhead slapped home a rebound.

The Hawks play again on Thursday night against the Surrey Knights at the brand-new North Surrey Sport and Ice Complex, and Robinson is optimistic that this is a jumping-off point for his young team.

“For us right now, every win and every couple points we can get is big, so we don’t want to look past anything. It’s good to have a little confidence for the guys more than anything…It’s good to have positive momentum and hopefully build on that on Thursday with another big win.”