They at least picked up a point, but the Langley Rivermen dropped their second straight to the Centennials, this time 3-2 in double overtime when Gavin Gould pounced on a loose puck off a bizarre play in the Rivermen crease to seal the Merritt victory.
The Riv started the first period with a dominating effort but it was the Centennials who struck first at the 6:54 mark as James Neil scored his sixth of the season. The goal seemed to suck the life out of the Riv who struggled to get that early game momentum back.
The game remained 1-0 until early in the third when Captain Mitch McLain put a rebound shot in on the power play for his 10th of the season tying the game at one and becoming the first Riverman to hit double digits in the goal column. Just six minutes later Marcus Vela got his second in as many nights to give the Riv their first lead of the game with the lone assist going to Austin Azurdia. The lead lasted until just under three minutes to go when Diego Cuglietta scored on a shorthanded break tying the game again.
After four-on-four overtime solved nothing, it was off to 3-on-3 once again for the Riv for the fifth time this season. The end was a controversial one as the puck appeared to have been iced by the Cents but with no whistle the play continued. Azurdia tried to play the puck around the end boards but it was intercepted. AZ then went down to block the centering feed attempt dragging the puck towards the crease with him and then tried to clear it back to the boards but it riccocheted off Tony Bretzman’s skate and right to an open Gould.
The game marks the second double OT loss on the season for the Riv as they fall to 13-6-1-2. A Prince George tie in Vernon Saturday night means Langley still has a one point lead over the Spruce Kings atop the Mainland division and with a game in hand. Brock Crossthwaite was very strong in net for the Riv making 38 saves and earning the game’s third star. Vela’s overall strong effort on a line with Azurdia and Will Cook earned him the game’s second star.
The Rivermen can get back into the win column in Surrey Monday afternoon with a rare early week date against the Eagles. Puckdrop is set for 2:00pm.