The Langley Rivermen played host to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for the first and only time at the LEC on Friday night. Coming into the game, both teams sat in fourth place in their respective divisions and were looking to improve the gap on the teams below them for playoff positioning. Langley took the first game in the season series 3-2 in double overtime back in September. James Barr got the start for the ‘Men, while Adam Clark got the call for the ‘Backs.
The first period did not get off to the best of starts for the Rivermen as Salmon Arm came out with a lot of energy. Alex Jewell opened up the scoring on a power play goal at the 6:42 mark of the period. The puck was shot towards the net, hit a body in front and landed in the slot for Jewell who ripped home the game’s first goal. With under a minute to go and Langley on the power play, Austin Azurdia would tie the game on a very hard-working goal. Azurdia took the puck towards the net, put it off the stick of Clark and with the puck in mid-air , he smacked it not once, but twice and ended up in the back of the net. It was especially jaw dropping since he was doing it while falling to the ice.
In the second period, the Rivermen started to really come on. Jakob Reichert, who was playing defense for the first time this season, took the puck hard to the goal and got his own rebound to make it a 2-1 game. For Reichert, it was his second goal in two games. With time winding down, Langley would score another late one. With under five seconds to go, Aaron Dolby would bag his third of the year on a long point shot that found its way through a maze of bodies to make it a 3-1 lead after forty minutes.
In the third period, Mario Puskarich would score an absolute beautiful goal on the power play at the 2:28 mark. The league’s top sniper took a pass on the goal line on the right-wing and had very little room to put it in the top half of the net, but he did just that roofing a quick shot over the shoulder of Clark to make it 4-1. The ‘Backs would not go away quietly as Josh Bowes scored with under seven minutes to go to cut the lead to two. However, the comeback would not be complete as Puskarich iced the game with an empty net tally.
In the end, James Barr would pick up the win facing 40 shots, while Clark was the losing goaltender stopping 37. Puskarich was the first star with two goals and two assists and was the game’s first star, while Barr and Clark would get second and third star. With that four point night, Puskarich is the league’s first 60 point and 30 goal man as he leads the BCHL in both categories.
Up next for Langley is a tilt in Surrey tomorrow night. They are fresh off a big 6-4 win in Chilliwack tonight. Game time is at 7 PM at the SSA.