Langley Rivermen forward Daneel Lategan carried the puck up ice while being pursued by Vernon Vipers’ Brandon Whistle during BCHL action Tuesday at the George Preston Recreation Centre. The Vipers edged the Rivermen 5-4 in overtime. Garrett James Photography

Vernon Vipers hand Rivermen third consecutive OT loss

Langley juniors continue to collect points, just not two at a time

On the surface, you’d think the Langley Rivermen are getting tired of working overtime and only getting half the payoff.

On Tuesday, the Rivermen lost their third consecutive OT game, falling 5-4 to the Vernon Vipers at the George Preston Recreation Centre (GPRC).

This marks the third straight time a Rivermen game has gone longer than the standard 60 minute-mark.

It’s also the third consecutive game in which the ‘Men have left a point on the table for their efforts.

Last weekend in Prince George, the Rivermen lost back-to-back games in double overtime to the host Spruce Kings, as they came home with two out of a possible four points.

For those looking at the Rivermen’s recent fortunes from a glass-half-full perspective, the ‘Men have earned at least a point in each of their past eight games, and ended October on a five-game win streak.

The more cynical fan will tell you the Rivermen have opened November with three straight losses, albeit all of the OT variety.

The Rivermen lead the league, by a mile, in a dubious category. Their nine overtime losses are easily the most in the B.C. Hockey League. The Victoria Grizzlies have the second most OT losses in the junior A loop, with three.

Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson is taking a positive approach. The bench boss has liked what he saw from his players, even if the Rivermen haven’t produced two points each outing.

“If we weren’t getting our chances and we weren’t in the games, I’d be worried,” Henderson said. “But we’ve been playing some good hockey and doing things the right way, and good things are coming. The guys are finding ways to get points (in the standings) and doing it against the top teams in the league. It’s one of those thing where once we get everyone going at the same time, we’ll have success. We have guys who are snakebit (offensively) right now, and I think it’s matter of time before the puck starts going in (for them).”

On Tuesday, the Vipers’ Keyvan Mokhtari scored the OT winner 2:12 into the first extra period.

The goal spoiled a notable comeback bid by the Rivermen, who trailed 4-2 midway through the third period before goals by Nicholas Ponak (at the 10:08 mark) and Carter Stephenson (with 2:54 remaining in regulation) brought the home team on even terms.

The Rivermen jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on Angus Crookshank’s team-leading 11th and 12th goals of the campaign.

But the Vipers fired back with four unanswered goals, including two from Josh Prokop in the second period followed by the first two markers of the final frame.

ICE CHIPS: These ‘loser’ points the Rivermen have been collecting of late aren’t all bad.

They continue to lead the BCHL’s Mainland Division with a 10-3-9 record and have only suffered three regulation losses this season.

Next up for the Rivermen is a home-and-home weekend series with the Chilliwack Chiefs, with the teams meeting Friday in Chilliwack and again Saturday (Nov. 11) at the GPRC. Both of those games get underway at 7 p.m.

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