The Langley Rivermen arrived in Prince George in the morning of gameday after travelling on the bus all night after Friday night’s game at home against Chilliwack. It was the second trip to PG to play a double-header and going into Saturday night, the Rivermen led the season series 4-3. It was a big game in the standings for both teams as Langley could clinch a playoff spot with a win, while Prince George could seal up third spot in the Mainland Division with a victory of their own. In the pipes, it was a battle of the Surrey natives as James Barr got the start for Langley, while Kirk Thompson got the call for PG.
Before the puck dropped, you had to wonder what kind of start the Rivermen were going to have after a long night on the bus. That question was answered right away as the Spruce Kings came out flying and the ‘Men seemed to be stuck in quicksand. Mark Begert wired home the opening goal just past the three-minute mark on a nice play set up by David Stephens who stole the puck in the Rivermen zone. Over five minutes later the Spruce Kings would capitalize on their first power play of the game. Cam Lawson entered the Langley zone on a rush and set up Shayne Morrissey on the right-wing who slapped home his 19th goal of the campaign. The Spruce Kings would out-shoot the Rivermen 14-6 in the opening frame.
Langley would start off the second period on the right foot. Mario Puskarich continued his point streak to eight games as he fired home a shot in the slot off a great pass from Evan Campbell on the right wall. For Puskarich it was his league leading 39th goal and 81st point. The Rivermen would start finding their stride after that goal and had plenty of opportunities to tie the game, but Thompson was in the zone stopping everything he faced. The ‘Kings would build off their goaltenders strong play and would get their two goal lead back courtesy of Coltyn Hansen. With time winding down, Hansen went on a two on one in the Rivermen end and elected to shoot and the decision paid off as he beat Barr top corner above the glove.
In the third period. the Rivermen would run out of gas and Chad Staley put them away scoring the Spruce Kings fourth goal of the game and chased Barr. The Rivermen would out-shoot PG 34-29 after it was all said and done, but the Spruce Kings would take the game 4-1.
The loss would mark the end of a three game win streak and PG was able to lock up third place with the victory. All three spots in the Mainland division are now accounted for. Chilliwack will host Prince George in the first round, while Surrey is awaiting either Langley or Coquitlam to occupy the fourth spot. The ‘Men can clinch that spot on Sunday either with a win or a Coquitlam loss in regulation.
The ninth and final meeting of the year goes tomorrow at 3:00PM at the Prince George Coliseum.