24 hours after losing in overtime against Prince George, the Rivermen were on the winning side of the extra frame a night later against the Vernon Vipers. It was the first meeting of the season between the teams, and entering play both were on four game losing streaks.
The Rivermen came out of the gates flying and had a 9-1 shot advantage at one point. Aaron Dolby opened the scoring on a blast down the right-wing that beat Austin Smith beneath the glove for his second on the year. It was a fantastic period for the home team as they dictated the pace of play and the Vipers were lucky to only be down by one.
The second period had no scoring as both goaltenders, James Barr(Langley) and Austin Smith(Vernon) stopped all shots they faced. The Vipers had a much better period firing 15 shots towards Barr.
Once again the Rivermen had a lead in the third period and things were looking good for the first 15 minutes. However with 2:17 to go Ryan Renz fired a shot off a face off top corner to tie things up, leaving the home crowd speechless.
Overtime was needed and in the extra period Matt Ustaski was the hero. Austin Azurdia fired a shot wide of the goal, but Ustaski drove hard to the net and flicked home the puck off a big bounce from the end boards. It was the Illinois product’s first career overtime winner and it capped off a great weekend for himself firing in two goals.
This was a big win for the Rivermen as they now can forget about the last four games and focus on the present. The games only get bigger next weekend as the ‘Men start a home and home set with Surrey on Friday and finish the week in Coquitlam on Sunday.