There is luck and then there is what the Langley Rivermen have been having of late. For a second straight game, the opposition won the Hockey game with under two minutes to play in the the third period. This time it was the Coquitlam Express winning in dramatic fashion 5-4.
The Express played the first seven minutes of the game mostly in the Rivermen end. It looked as if it was going to be a long night for the ‘men, but to their credit weathered the storm and were able to open the scoring. Ben Greiner took a pass into the attacking zone from Puskarich and was able to sneak a shot between the legs of Cole Huggins for his 12th of the year. They added to their lead in the late goings of the first period as Chris Tracy skated the puck to the slot and let a wrist shot go off the crossbar and in to the back of the net for a 2-0 lead. For the third straight game the Rivermen took a two goal lead into the second period. On a power play in the middle frame, Darnell Dyck made it a 3-0 score as he ripped a snapshot past Cole Huggins which led to him being pulled. It seemed to spark the Express as Clinton Atkinson fired a slap shot from the point past James Barr shorthanded none the less to get the home team on the board. Just over three minutes later Express captain Alex Petan was able to find room on the right wing and place a pin point shot past James Barr to cut the Rivermen lead to one. In the third period Brady Shaw was able to complete the comeback as he put home a loose puck on an Express power play for his team leading 14th power play marker. A shift later, the Express turned the puck over at centre and Austin Plevy went down the ice on a 2 on 1 with Darnell Dyck. Plevy placed a perfect saucer pass on the tape of Dyck who put the puck top corner to regain the Rivermen lead for his second of the night. However, the lead did not last long as Petan tied the game up at 4-4 for his second as well on a great spin-o-rama pass from Malcolm Mckinney. Just when overtime was nearing, Zach Hodder took the puck on a rush in the Langley end and fired a shot off the end wall only to have the puck land on the stick of Petan who bagged his third of the game with just 1:43 to go. It was the game winner as the Rivermen could not score with the goalie pulled. It was Petan’s second hat trick of the season against the Rivermen.
The puck is just not bouncing the Langley Rivermen’s way in the last three games and has left the team scratching their heads. Holding a lead has been a struggle in the last three contests, but this young team will learn from it. The rubber match will come tomorrow between the teams, but this time at the Langley Events Centre in the series finale.