The Langley Rivermen fell short in an exciting and entertaining home opener, presented by Global BC, losing to the Nanaimo Clippers 3-2 in double overtime at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
Sheldon Rempel scored his team leading sixth goal of the season with 20 seconds left in double overtime and first star Guillaume Decelles stopped 31 shots to give Nanaimo their fourth straight win.
The game was tied at two after forty minutes of play. There was lots of back and forth action but no scoring in the third. The first overtime frame solved nothing, so it was off to 3-on-3 double overtime. In double overtime, Decelles stoned Evan Anderson from point blank range and Gage Torrel hit the crossbar on a breakaway.
“Well it was exciting for the fans that’s for sure,” said Clippers Head Coach and General Manager Mike Vandekamp. “The 3-on-3 is just mayhem as far as I’m concerned but it’s an exciting way for the game to end.”
“My heart was racing,” said Evan Anderson. “To hear those fans was pretty exciting. It’s too bad we didn’t get the win.”
Langley couldn’t have asked for a better start, scoring 24 seconds into the game on a nice passing play finished off by Will Cook.
“It was exciting back and forth hockey,” said Assistant Coach Kurt Astle. “That’s what the fans came to see. I thought our guys generated opportunities but it came down to execution and their goalie stood on its’ head and I tip my hat to him. We were on the wrong side of a few unlucky bounces.”
“He’s been a good backbone for us,” said Vandekamp. “We went after him hard in the summer to get him to come play here and it’s worked out really for us. He really shined tonight and stole the game for us.”
Brendan Gulka scored short-handed in the first period as the Rivermen took a 2-1 lead, but once again they got into penalty trouble taking seven minor penalties in the game, giving up one power play goal.
“That’s something we’re still working on,” said Astle. “Some of our guys stepped up and had some big games and we still need some of our veterans to bring it a little more and show some leadership.”
A tough break for the Rivermen, as goaltender Darren Martin left early in the third period with a leg injury as he collided into defenseman Steven Duda. Bo Didur came in and replaced Martin.
“Marty’s such a great guy and to see him go down was tough but he’ll bounce back and we hope to see him on the ice soon,” said Anderson.
Envision Financial was on hand for the home opener presenting the Dash for Cash, where, during the first intermission, two lucky fans had a chance to collect up to five-thousand loonies spread all over the ice. Global BC’s Kaitlyn Herbst also participated in the event with the money she collected going to Global BC’s Thanks for Giving Food Drive. Envision Financial matched her proceeds and donated two-thousand dollars to the Food Drive.
Langley’s record now sits at 2 wins and 3 losses, as they’ll finish off the weekend with their third game in just as many days, when they travel to Surrey to take on the Eagles on Sunday afternoon at 4:00PM. The game can be seen on www.FastHockey.com and heard on Mixlr radio.
NOTES: Gage Torrel, Evan Anderson and Kevan Kilistoff got on the score sheet with one assist each. Shots on Goal: NAN 36 – LAN 33. Powerplay: LAN 0-3, NAN 1-7. Saves/Shots: LAN – Darren Martin 13/15 (L), Bo Didur 20/21, NAN – Guillaume Decelles 31/33 (W). Three Stars: 1st: NAN Guillaume Decelles, 2nd: LAN Will Cook, 3rd: LAN Gage Torrel.
For details visit www.LangleyRivermen.com