It was a goal scoring frenzy at the LEC Saturday night and while the Langley Rivermen found the back of the net five times, they fell 7-5 in a wild one to the visiting Victoria Grizzlies.
The Rivermen got the start they were looking for with two goals in the first three and a half minutes from Marcus Vela and Mitch McLain while threatening for a third with a first period power play. But the Grizzlies scored two within 41 seconds to tie the game with four and a half to go in the opening period. Vela scored his second of the night just 31 seconds later to re-take the lead but that too was shortlived as Myles Fitzgerald scored his second of the period to even the game at 3.
The wild first sure had the crowd at the LEC into the game but definitely created frustration for both benches with a number of defensive zone turnovers both ways. Mark McLellan gave Victoria their first lead of the game just 46 seconds into the second. Once again it didn’t take long for a response with Nathan Craft earning his 10th of the season off a Brendan Gulka rebound to tie it at 4. The Grizzlies answered with a goal of their own just another three minutes later with Jake Sterling getting the go-ahead marker.
The scoring spree suddenly stopped as it was nearly a full period later before Cole Pickup put the eventual game winner past Steve Myland 3:23 into the third.
Jakob Reichert pulled the Riv within one with four minutes to go but Garrett Forster sealed the game for the Grizz with an empty netter.
All four goaltenders saw game action while Victoria starter Nic Renyard got the least by far getting the hook after McLain’s marker just 3:32 into the first as Alec Dillon entered in relief. Brock Crossthwaite allowed four goals on nine shots before being replaced by Myland 46 seconds into the second.
While the loss wasn’t a positive for the Riv they’re no worse off as both Prince George and Coquitlam lost in regulation Saturday night. The 14-8-1-2 Rivermen remain just one point back of the Spruce Kings for first in the Mainland division and hold a game in hand. This all sets up a big showdown for first place Thursday night as Prince George pays a visit to the LEC.