Through most of the BCHL season the focus in the Mainland division has been on the first place Wenatchee Wild and second place Chilliwack Chiefs.
But the red-hot Langley Rivermen must have both teams feeling queasy about a first-round playoff matchup.
The Rivermen had the Chiefs on the ropes Saturday night, building up a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes. A furious third period comeback capped by Will Calverley’s game winner rescued a 4-3 overtime triumph for the home team, and left fans salivating over what a wonderful series Chiefs/Rivermen might be.
But for Chilliwack, this game drove home why finishing first in the division is so uber-important.
Langley jumped on the Chiefs in the first period, with a pair of defenceman scoring power play goals.
McKay Flanagan got Langley’s first at 4:29 with Nolan Zweep serving two minutes for charging. Fifteen seconds later Ben Fanjoy was booted from the game for a hit from behind, putting the Rivermen back on the PP. Cameron Ginnetti cashed in with a wrister from the high slot that found its way past Sinclair.
Sean Gulka added to Langley’s lead late in the second period.
The 16 year old and his teammate, Nicholas Ponak, both camped out in the goal-mouth as a Flanagan shot found its way to Chiefs goalie Mark Sinclair. The netminder left a rebound for Ponak to whack at. Gulka had the second whack, popping the puck past Sinclair at 11:40.
Will Calverley sparked the comeback 1:33 into period three.
The 18-year-old beat Rivermen keeper Bo Didur with a rocket shot from the slot, scoring on the 33rd Chilliwack shot of the game.
Kale Kane got his team within one with 11:49 to play. Anthony Vincent did the heavy lifting with a dynamic rush down the right wing, kept alive when rookie D-man Powell Connor alertly toed the blueline to stay onside. Vincent threw the puck into the slot and Kane punched it past Didur for his 14th of the year and fifth in his last three games.
Jordan Kawaguchi’s last minute goal forced overtime.
As he glided down the left wing, Captain K spotted Calverley chugging toward the net. On the backhand, Gooch sent a sharp-angle centering pass into the blue paint where Didur misplayed it into his own net.
Calverley completed the comeback 1:26 into OT. Stealing the puck along the left wing wall he had a clear path to the Langley net. Didur thought he was going to cut across the goal-mouth and started to go with the pokecheck. That left an opening for Calverley to sneak a short-side shot inside the left post.
The three stars were Didur (first), Calverley (second) and Sinclair (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Linden Hora.
Announced attendance was 3,108