Langley blows third-period lead

Rivermen denied fourth straight win after third-period collapse

When you play with fire, eventually you will get burned.

In their previous game, the Langley Rivermen blew a three-goal lead but were saved by a last-second buzzer-beating highlight-reel goal from Austin Azurdia.

But there were no such heroics in the junior A hockey club’s next game as they once again squandered a three-goal advantage. The only difference is this time they lost the game too, falling 4-3 to the host Chilliwack Chiefs in BCHL action on Wednesday (Oct. 10).

“We obviously didn’t learn our lesson,” said Langley coach Bobby Henderson the next day, still perturbed by the defeat.

“Hopefully they learned it this time.”

“We dominated the game for 54 minutes, and had a couple of mental breakdowns,” he said.

“The guys just panicked and it snowballed.”

After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, Langley took control with three goals in the opening stanza as Aaron Dolby — on the power play — Mario Puskarich and Mitch McLain all found the back of the net.

The Rivermen were cruising to victory but with just over six minutes remaining in the game, the tide turned as Luke Esposito’s intended pass banked in off a Langley defender and pinballed past goalie James Barr.

Less than a minute later Esposito struck again, scoring a short-handed goal on a two-on-one break.

And 84 seconds after that, Ryan Donohoe tied the game at three.

The Chiefs completed the comeback with a power-play tally from Spencer Graboski with less than three minutes to go.

The loss ended Langley’s three-game win streak and dropped them to  5-3-0-1. Chilliwack improved to 6-2-1-1.

The Rivermen are back in action with a home-and-home series this weekend against the West Kelowna Warriors.

The teams play at the Langley Events Centre on Oct. 12 before traveling to the interior for the rematch on Oct. 13.

Langley Times