Langley Rivermen goaltender James Barr reaches for a loose puck before Vernon Vipers’ Jedd Soleway can pounce on it. The Rivermen won 2-1 in overtime.

Langley Rivermen forced to work overtime with mixed results

Junior hockey club wins one, loses one in pair of extra-time tilts

Sixty minutes wasn’t enough on both nights for the Langley Rivermen as they played overtime on back-to-back nights with mixed results.

The Rivermen dropped a 5-4 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday before bouncing back with a 2-1 win over the Vernon Vipers.

Both BCHL junior A hockey games were played at the Langley  Events Centre.

“You can’t really complain getting three out of four points,” said Rivermen coach Bobby Henderson.

“But I think Friday night, we should have won that one.”

In that game, four times Langley had a one-goal lead but each time Prince George tied it up, including the last one with only four minutes left.

Mitch Eden won it 1:36 into the extra period.

Matt Ustaki, Mario Puskarich with a pair and Ben Grenier had the Langley goals.

The Spruce Kings — whose bus went off the road on the way to Langley — outshot the Rivermen 43-35.

“We scored plenty, just a couple of defensive mistakes,” Henderson said.

“We had them down, we just didn’t finish the deal.”

Against Vernon on Saturday, Langley led 1-0 for much of the game on Aaron Dolby’s first period goal. But with 2:17 to go, Ryan Renz finally solved James Barr to force overtime. Barr finished with 32 saves.

This time, it would be the home side netting the winner as Ustaki scored 4:29 into the first overtime period.

The results improved the Rivermen to 6-5-0-2.

Henderson said his team is still getting over a few late blown leads earlier this month.

“It is just finding that confidence to finish the game,” he said.

“We made steps in putting that behind us,.”

“It was a great defensive effort (against Vernon),” he added.

“That is what we have been preaching all week. We don’t have to win games 6-5 or 5-4, we can win 1-0 or 2-1 game. We should have pride in our defensive game and be able to do that on a nightly basis.”

The Rivermen face a road game in Surrey on Friday before the two teams square off at the LEC on Saturday night. Langley is also on the road on Sunday afternoon in Coquitlam.

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