Rivermen up end ‘Backs in OT thriller

Possibly Barr’s most clutch save in a Rivermen uniform robbing Flanagan in double OT

The Langley Rivermen were able to close out the interior road trip in style in Salmon Arm with a thrilling 3-2 double overtime win. The Rivermen played from behind for most of regulation and were able to claw their way back to tie it late in the third period before finishing off the Silverbacks in one of the most thrilling overtime games you may ever see. It was the first meeting of the season between the two clubs and was the most entertaining game to date. For the second straight game, both goaltenders stole the show.

The first couple of minutes of the game was a bit of a feeling out process, but halfway through the period the pace began to pick up. The ‘Backs opened up the scoring on a shorthanded goal from Jason Trott. The Salmon Arm forward picked up a loose puck in the Langley zone off a turnover and fired a shot past James Barr for his first of the season. The Silverbacks would take a 1-0 lead into the break and they could thank the strong goaltending of Colin Dzijacky who stopped every shot he faced. The ‘Men had a couple of glorious scoring opportunities including a shorthanded breakaway from Derek Sutliffe. Mitch McLain also had a great chance when he found himself all alone in front of the goal with Dzijacky down and out, but whistled it over the net. Mario Puskarich also missed a penalty shot as well.

The second period had a little bit of everything from goals, hits, great saves, and fights. During a Logan Smith and Jason Trott scrap, Mitch McLain decided to drop the mitts with Brendan Kennedy. As per BCHL rules if another fight begins when another tilt is going on, those two players receive automatic game misconduct’s. After the referee sorted out all the penalties, the Rivermen finally got on the board. Trevor Cope tied up the game near the halfway point of the period on a fluke play in front of the net. Cope took a shot off his stomach from Aaron Dolby that found it’s way into the back of the net which continued Cope’s point streak to six games. However, a few minutes later the ‘Backs would get the lead back on a power play tally from Evan Schwalbe on a scramble in front of Barr.

The third period went back and forth with both teams trading chances for the most part. The Silverbacks then did a great job of clinging on to their 2-1 lead for the first ten minutes, but then got into penalty trouble. In the late stages of regulation, the Rivermen went on the power play and pulled the goalie to make it a two-man advantage. With under a minute to go, Bo Pellah found Jakob Reichert on the left-wing who then made a power move on the backhand and lifted a shot top corner past Dzijacky. It was a massive goal to say the least as Reichert scored his much-anticipated first of the year in a situation where his team needed it the most. Overtime was needed and my goodness, did the teams give the fans what they paid to see. The ‘Men had a few scoring opportunities in four on four, but could not slip one past Dzijacky. The ‘Backs did not have many good scoring chances, but when called upon Barr made the stops. Three on three was needed and it was an overtime for the ages. Colin Dzijacky stood on his head making highlight reel save after save, which really had the home crowd going. James Barr then made the save of the season on a Silverback two on one. Sean Flanagan took a great pass in tight but was absolutely robbed by Barr on as he stretched across to his left in desperation and made a great glove save to keep overtime going. A shift later, Evan Campbell found Mario Puskarich behind the defense at centre ice and went in and made no mistake firing a blistering wrist shot blocker side with 58 seconds left. Talk about dramatic.

I can honestly say that the four-minute three on three overtime might have been the most entertaining stretch of hockey I have ever seen. Colin Dzijacky deserves a massive pat on the back with some of the ridiculous saves he made time and time again. At the other end of the Rink, James Barr was the reason the Rivermen were able to come away with the two points with his head scratching stop on Flanagan, which set up the Puskarich winner.

Langley was able to come away with two out of the four points on the road trip and will play back at home next weekend when PG comes to town on Saturday and Sunday.

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