The Langley Rivermen put a screeching halt to the Cowichan Valley Capitals plans on clinching home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs on Saturday night. With a Cowichan win they would be the second seed in the Coastal Conference leap-frogging Surrey for home-ice. The odds were not very good for Langley as they were win-less in six straight games against the ‘Caps this season, but somehow, someway pulled off a “greasy” 2-1 overtime win.
The Capitals came out of the gate absolutely flying firing shots left right and centre at James Barr, but the Langley goalie stopped everything he faced. He saw 11 shots within the first eight minutes and gave the team momentum. Chris Tracy broke the ice near the seven minute mark on a great rush down the right-wing and fired a shot over the glove of Brady Rouleau for his 15th of the season. The Capitals could not manage to put anything past Barr as he made 15 stops by the end of the first period. In the second the ‘Caps threw everything at Barr including the kitchen sink, but still could not solve him. He saw rubber 21 times in the middle frame and kept every one in front of him. The Rivermen had just nine shots and held on to a 1-0 lead heading into the third period. However, the Capitals would break the goose egg on a power play goal from Brayden Sherbinin as Barr was screened in front on a point shot. James Barr faced 20 shots and only let one in and was a main reason the game needed overtime. With Cowichan Valley buzzing in the attacking zone in the extra period, Brett Knowles took a cross checking minor and put his team shorthanded with time running out in the first overtime session. Steve O’Rourke used his timeout to draw up a play and it paid dividends. After a quick faceoff win, Ryan Bakken put the puck on a tee for Mario Puskarich who one-timed the puck on the right boards for the game winner past Rouleau.
It was Puskarich’s second overtime winner of the season and what a shot it was. It would not have gotten to that point however, if it was not for the stellar play from James Barr. He faced 62 shots by the end of it and was the game’s first star. No kidding. If it was his last start of the season, he definitely saved his best for last.
The Surrey Eagles were big fans of it especially, as they needed Langley to win in order to get home-ice in the first round over Cowichan Valley. With the Rivermen win, they now assured themselves seventh place in the standings, one spot ahead of Victoria who lost 7-0 to Powell River in their last game of the season. The Rivermen will close out their inaugural season tomorrow afternoon in Alberni Valley at 2:30 PM.
If you missed it or just want to hear it again, here is the OT call: