Saturday, October 27, 2012

Puskarich Hat-Trick Lifts Rivermen Over Eagles

Mario Puskarich scored a hat-trick as the Langley Rivermen got a measure of revenge for Friday night's loss, defeating the Surrey Eagles 6-5 at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday. Mason Blacklock had a strong game for the Birds, netting two goals in a losing cause.

The Rivermen got on the board first when Tanner Clarkson scored his first goal in a Langley jersey just 2:10 into the hockey game. Clarkson was acquired from Trail on Thursday. The Eagles answered back just before the midway mark of the period when Mason Blacklock completed a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play by beating Langley starter Darren Hogg. Nic Pierog and Devon Toews had helpers on the goal. But Langley took the lead again when Mitch McLain was the beneficiary of an odd bounce off the stick of Dan O'Keefe, burying the puck past Michael Santaguida at 13:42. The Rivermen extended their lead with less than two minutes remaining in the period when Puskarich picked up his first of the game, knocking the puck into the Surrey goal after a frantic scramble in the crease.

Surrey responded early in the second when Jordan Klimek scored his first BCHL goal, firing a wrist shot from the left point that found its way past Hogg. Shortly thereafter, Langley regained the two goal lead on the power play after Matt Ustaski redirected Tyler Vanscourt's point shot past Santaguida at 4:18. Surrey scored a power play goal of its own moments later when Brady Shaw and Michael Stenerson completed a pretty give-and-go passing play before Stenerson fed across the crease to Demico Hannoun who tallied his sixth of the year to pull the Birds to within one. Trevor Cameron tied the game at the 15 minute mark when Brett Mulcahy forced a turnover on the fore check and found Cameron in the slot for the goal. Following Surrey's fourth goal, Hogg was pulled from the Langley net in favour of James Barr. It looked like the game would remain tied through 40 minutes, but with just 1:10 to go in the period, Puskarich netted his second to restore the Langley lead.

The Rivermen held the 5-4 advantage until the late stages of the third period when Puskarich completed the hat-trick with an empty netter in the final minute. Mason Blacklock scored his second of the game with seven seconds remaining to pull Surrey back to within one, but the Birds couldn't tie it up in the end.

Barr was credited with the victory for Langley after coming on in relief. He made 11 saves on 12 shots. Michael Santaguida picked up the loss between the pipes for the Eagles, making 30 saves.

Surrey was 1-for-3 with the man advantage while Langley went 1-for-4. The Rivermen out shot the Eagles 37-25.

The Birds will continue their three game road swing on Thursday when they'll visit the LEC once again. The Rivermen, for their part, play on Sunday afternoon in Coquitlam.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Mario Puskarich - Langley
2. Mason Blacklock - Surrey
3. Mark Whiteley - Langley

My 3 Stars:
1. Mario Puskarich - Langley
2. Mason Blacklock - Surrey
3. Mitch McLain - Langley

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