You can’t help but admire the Langley Rivermen’s collective stick–to–itiveness.
The Rivermen found themselves down 4-1 with under eight minutes to play in the second period of their B.C. Hockey League match-up against the Coquitlam Express Friday at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre.
The ’Men didn’t quit.
They kept chipping away, little by little, to the point where veteran forward Zac Masson scored with 16 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it into extra time.
Then, 3:33 into the second, three-on-three overtime session, defenceman Cameron Ginnetti capped the comeback when he found the net to lift the Rivermen to a 5-4 victory.
“We showed a lot of character,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said. “We could have went away and make it easy for them (the Express), but our message to the guys was to stick with it. We knew it was going to be a frustrating night but the guys were pretty resilient.”
Rivermen forward Angus Crookshank’s first of the season narrowed the margin to two goals at the 13:21 mark of the second period.
Then, Langley’s leading scorer Ryan Barrow brought the visitors to within a goal when he scored at the 12:13 mark of the final frame. Barrow’s goal was his team-leading 17th of the season.
The Rivermen switched goalies after a first period that saw them fall behind 3-1, with Chad Cromar taking the place of starter Bradley Cooper.
Cromar surrendered just one goal in 50 minutes of action.
Henderson said the decision to switch netminders was a way of shaking things up: “Just to slam on the brakes and get them (the players) refocused, and push some buttons there.”
Of his two affiliate puckstoppers, Henderson said, “We’ve been fortunate that both guys (Cromar and Cooper) have helped out – they’re a big reason why we’ve been able to pick up wins the last couple of weeks.”
The Rivermen have been playing much better of late, despite their 11-13-3-2 record.
The ’Men are 3-1-1 in their last five games, minus both of their regular netminders. Bo Didur and Braedon Fleming were injured during the Rivermen’s 3-3 double overtime tie with the visiting Nanaimo Clippers back on Nov. 19.
The Rivermen will be in Prince George to play their BCHL Mainland Division rival Spruce Kings this Thursday and Friday, Dec. 8 and 9. They return home Sunday to host the Express on Five Hole For Food day at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
The BCHL is once again off and running with its Five Hole for Food Campaign, presented by First West Credit Union and the Rivermen will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items.
Opening puck drop is 2 p.m.
The Rivermen will be without Ginnetti and Barrow this weekend. Both are trying out for Team Canada West, with hopes of playing in the World Junior A Challenge. Henderson believes both will make the team.