The Langley Rivermen and Prince George Spruce Kings finished the B.C. Hockey League Showcase in style on Sunday night, with a good, old-fashioned offensive slugfest.
It was a see-saw battle throughout, with Prince George coming out on top with a 6-5 overtime win at Chilliwack's Prospera Centre.
Coming into the game, both teams were 1-0, and by the end of the contest, Langley's extra point was well-earned.
In the first period, the Rivermen came out flying, but could not solve Spruce Kings goaltender Kirk Thompson, who stood on his head in the first 10 minutes.
Eventually Tyler Vanscourt would score his first of the season on a scramble in front of the Spruce Kings' goal to make it 1-0.
With under two minutes to play and on the power play, Langley's Ben Greiner finished off a pretty passing play set up by Jakob Reichert.
The 'Men would take that 2-0 lead into the break and dominated up to that point, firing 13 shots on goal to Prince George's three.
Momentum spilled over into the second period, with Vanscourt scoring his second of the game within the first couple of minutes to open up a 3-0 Rivermen lead.
It seemed at that point that the team were just going to be too much for Prince George to handle, but this definitely was not the case.
At the 4:12 mark of the period, Spruce King Coltyn Hansen got his team on the board on a pretty wrist shot that beat Langley goaltender James Barr below the blocker.
Shortly after, Tyson Witala cut the lead to one and from that point it was game on.
In the late stages, Langley got into penalty trouble and saw themselves down two men. The Spruce Kings took advantage.
Hansen scored his second of the game on a deflection in front of Barr on a point shot from Eden to knot things up at 3-3.
The Rivermen showed no signs of panic after the goal and scored with 54 seconds left in the period to move ahead 4-3. With the puck behind the Prince George net, Trevor Cope flicked the puck into the slot and had it whacked out of mid-air by Austin Azurdia and into the back of the net for his first career BCHL goal.
In the third period, Cope scored his second goal in as many games to give Langley a 5-3 lead in the early minutes.
It was a carbon copy of the one he scored in the first game with James Robinson driving the net hard only to have Cope finish off the play.
The 'Kings would get that goal right back, shorthanded, courtesy of Liam Board who put home a beautiful tic-tac-toe type of goal to make it a 5-4 game. Just over two minutes later, the Spruce Kings completed the comeback on a rebound goal by Tyson Witala during four-on-four play.
Overtime was needed with a valuable extra point up for grabs and with one minute left in the fourth period, the Spruce Kings bagged the winner. Lynden Martell was the hero as he drove wide on the right wing before firing a wrist shot off the glove of Barr and into the net.
Langley fired 32 shots on goal while Prince George had 21.
Rivermen 7, Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3
The Rivermen opened their season in style Friday afternoon with a 7-3 mauling of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
Rivermen captain Thomas Nitsche, who scored Langley's seventh goal, was happy to get that first win.
"It was very exciting," Nitsche said. "My whole team played unbelievable for our first game of the year. It was exciting to get off to a great start and I hope we continue that success in the future."
Nitsche said the Rivermen recovered well after a shaky start.
"After that, the goals came easy and it was great to see," he said.
It was the first game of the BCHL Showcase and with 126 scouts on hand, the 'Men did not disappoint.
After a five minute feeling out process between both teams, the game really started to pick up. The Bulldogs opened the scoring on a jam play on James Barr, as Zach Funk stuffed in a loose puck in the crease.
That goal seemed to spark the Rivermen because just a couple of shifts later, Ben Butcher scored the first Rivermen goal of the season on a beautiful play set up by Matt Ustaski. The big Langley centre man drove around a defender near the goal mouth and fed a perfect pass to Butcher, who fired home his first career BCHL goal.
Then with under five minutes to go, and with the 'Men shorthanded, Scott Moyer jumped on a loose puck at centre ice that bounced over a Bulldogs defenceman's stick and went in alone on a breakaway before scoring on the backhand to put Langley ahead 2-1.
The 'Dogs came out with a lot of intensity to start the second frame and tied the contest on a goal from Lars Hepso just over a minute in.
The game did not stay tied for very long as Butcher fired home his second of the game on a goal Deo would love to have back. After taking a pass at centre ice, Butcher wristed a long shot just as he crossed the Alberni Valley blueline and somehow beat Deo going the wrong way
Langley made it 4-2 with less than five minutes to play in the period. This time it was Cope's turn to get on the scoresheet. After Robinson stole the puck in the offensive zone, he was able to find a wide open Cope in the slot. Cope hammered home a quick snap shot between Deo's pads to make it a 4-2 game.
The Rivermen put the Bulldogs away in the third period.
Defenceman Bo Pellah notched his first of the season on a goal where he was going hard to the net and found a loose puck off a Mitch McLain scoring attempt, and made no mistake.
Derek Sutliffe would then bag his first of the year with one second left on the powerplay on a one-two-three passing play involving Moyer and Azurdia, to give Langley a four-goal lead at 6-2.
Then with less than three minutes play, the Rivermen scored another powerplay goal courtesy of Thomas Nitsche's seeing-eye shot from the point.
The 'Dogs would get a mean nothing goal with 25 seconds left on a powerplay of their own, to round out the game's scoring.
Barr picked up his first win of the season facing 26 shots, while Deo took the loss facing 28 pucks.
On special teams the Rivermen finished the game 2-7 on the powerplay, while the Bulldogs went 2-8 with the man advantage.
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