Rivermen rally to beat Chiefs in OT

Matt Ustaski scored 15 seconds into overtime as the Langley Rivermen edged the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-3 at Prospera Centre.

Matt Ustaski scored the game winner 15 seconds into overtime, ending the Chilliwack Chiefs winning streak at three games.

Ustaski’s Langley Rivermen beat the Chiefs 4-3 at Prospera Centre Friday night, hurting Chilliwack’s hopes for a playoff spot. Though they picked up a single point, the Surrey Eagles nabbed two with a win over Cowichan Valley.

The Chiefs (10-26-2-2) trail the Eagles by 11 points for the fourth and final spot in the Mainland division.

The Chiefs were out-played in the opening minutes of this one, but got on the scoreboard first with a goal by Mathieu Tibbet.

On a power play, Kiefer McNaughton uncorked a shot from the right point. Langley keeper Brock Crossthwaite made the stop, but left a rebound in the goal-mouth for Tibbet, who fought off Langley’s Zach Urban and deposited a backhand shot.

His 15th of the year at 8:40 had Chilliwack up 1-0 despite being out-shot 9-4.

Another power play goal put the Chiefs up by two early in period two. With Langley’s Gage Torrel serving the last seconds of a high sticking minor, Chilliwack’s Carter Cochrane sailed a wrist shot toward the net from the mid-point.

The puck hit Tibbet in front, changing direction and slipping past Crossthwaite.

The Chiefs ran into penalty trouble, giving Langley back-to-back-to-back power play chances midway through the second period.

The Rivermen scored on the third. With Zach Diamantoni in the sin bin, Langley won a faceoff to the left of the Chilliwack net. Austin Azurdia corralled a bouncing puck and fired an against-the-grain shot under the blocker of Chiefs netminder Spencer Tremblay, cutting Chilliwack’s lead in half.

Less than two minutes later Ustaski tracked down a loose puck in the slot and rifled his shot past Tremblay to knot the score at 2-2.

The Chiefs penalty killers had a big one to snuff out late in the period.

Tanner Cochrane was given two minutes for a charge, and another two (plus a 10 minutes misconduct) for expressing himself. The PK came up large, setting the stage for Chilliwack to retake the lead. Playing five-on-five in the final minute, a quick burst at the Langley blueline sent Austin Plevy hurtling toward the net. At the last second he flipped a puck across the goal-mouth to Tibbet and the 20-year-old popped it in with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock.

Langley fired 19 shots on goal in the second period, 15 of them on the power play, but trailed 3-2 heading into period three.

The visitors drew even at even strength, with Jacob Reichert scoring 4:04 into the final frame. Mitch McLain drew the assist with a centering pass from the bottom of the left faceoff circle. Reichert tapped the puck past Tremblay for his 13th of the year.

The Riverman had a great chance to end it in regulation time when Blake Gober was given a check from behind minor with 1:53 left. The Chiefs survived, with Tremblay turning in a game-saver stop on a James Robinson one-timer from the slot.

Tremblay didn’t have to make many eye-popping stops in regulation time, but he did face 51 shots.

Unfortunately, the 52nd evaded him just 15 seconds into four-on-four overtime.

Ustaski collected a cross-ice pass from Viktor Dombrovskiy and sniped a sharp-angle shot past Tremblay to give Langley the win.

The three stars were Tibbet (first), Tremblay (second) and Reichert (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Tanner Cochrane.

Announced attendance was 1,578.

The Chiefs are back on home ice Sunday, with a 5 p.m. start versus the Prince George Spruce Kings.

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