The Langley Rivermen needed every last second to escape with a 4-3 win over Prince George on Sunday afternoon at the LEC. Fresh off a late 3-2 win from Saturday night against those very Spruce Kings, the Rivermen put together a much better 60 minute effort in contest number two of the double-header. It was a battle of the number two goalies as Darren Hogg received his second start of the campaign for Langley, while 16 -year-old Liam McLeod started between the pipes for Prince George.
The Rivermen got out the gates with an early goal from Trevor Cope at the 2:01 mark of the first frame. Cope swatted at a loose puck in front of the goal that went off a PG defenders skate and bounced into the back of the net. Just over four minutes later, Matt Ustaski notched his first BCHL goal on a power play. The Illinois product banged home a loose puck in the after a juicy rebound was given up off a long blast from Aaron Dolby. The Rivermen would extend the lead to three as Austin Azurdia fired home his third goal of the weekend and shorthanded none the less that chased McLeod early. The Spruce Kings would get on the board before the 15 minute mark on a two-man advantage on a one-time blast from Bradley Ryan from the point. However, the ‘Men would take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
The second period had no goals scored from either side, but Hogg turned away all 10 shots he faced while Kirk Thompson kicked aside 12 pucks.
For the second straight night, the third period would be the most entertaining. With a 3-1 lead and time winding down, it looked like the Rivermen had it in the bag. Not quite though as Justin Rai scored back to back goals just 55 second apart to shock the home crowd. When it looked like the game was headed for overtime, Austin Azurdia had different plans. With one last rush of the game, the Wenatchee native made a spectacular (and i mean spectacular) toe drag move around Mitch Eden and roofed the puck top corner with just 0.3 seconds on the clock. It was the highlight of the year so far and it was the game winning goal as the Rivermen skated away with the two points in a 4-3 final.
I still cannot believe that happened. Give props to the Spruce Kings who are a resilient bunch tying the game like they did, but could not stop Azurdia all weekend. The kid scored four goals against Prince George in the double-header and really came up clutch when his team needed it the most. Lost in the dramatics is Darren Hogg picking up his first career BCHL win facing 35 shots on the day. A few other players that stood out was Matt Ustaski and Bo Pellah. Ustaski was a force all game picking up a goal and an assist, while Pellah contributed with two assists and quietly leads the team in scoring with 10 points.
In case you missed it, here is Azurdia’s unbelievable game winning goal: