Sports

Puskarich's hat trick paces Rivermen to upset of Kings

Langley Rivermen
Langley Rivermen's Mario Puskarich puts the puck past Powell River goaltender Sean Maguire during Saturday (Oct. 8)'s BCHL game at the Langley Events Centre. Powered by Puskarich's hat trick, the Rivermen won 5-3.
— image credit: Damon James

The Langley Rivermen snapped a five-game losing streak, while also handing the Powell River Kings their first setback of the season.

Mario Puskarich notched a hat trick as the junior A Rivermen won for the second time in seven games, defeating the visiting Kings 5-3 on Saturday night at the Langley Events Centre.

Langley had lost 6-3 the night before to the host Coquitlam Express at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre.

Against Powell River, the Rivermen trailed 3-2 in the latter stages of the second period, but Puskarich tied the score with 34 seconds remaining.

And then 53 seconds into the third, Sebastien Pare put Langley ahead for good.

Puskarich, who also opened the scoring,  added an empty-net goal with four seconds left.

Matt Esposito scored a second period power-play goal for Langley, while Craig Dalrymple struck twice with the man advantage and Cohen Adair had the other Kings goal.

Jim Kruger stopped 32 shots for the victory.

He was also in goal against the Express, making 36 saves in the defeat.

The teams traded goals for most of the first two periods, with Puskarich, Thomas Nitsche and Tyler Hanzlik scoring for the Rivermen while Alex Petan scored twice and Brady Shaw had the other for Coquitlam.

But with 59 seconds to go in the second, Petan completed his hat trick to give the Express a lead they would not surrender.

Malcolm McKinney and Coda Engbar added power-play goals in the third.

The Rivermen (2-5-0-0) look for their first two-game winning streak of the season as they host the Victoria Grizzlies (1-5-0-0) on Friday and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (3-3-1-0) on Saturday. Both games begin at 7 p.m. at the Langley Events Centre.

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