The Avon River Rats are sitting at fifth place in the Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League standings after two overtime losses this weekend.
The South Shore Wild wasted no time taking the lead in a matchup against the River Rats in Brooklyn Nov. 18, leaving the home team trailing 2-1 by the end of the first period.
The Wild tested River Rats goaltender Jacob Greenough’s agility in the second period with several solid shots on net, but the busy netminder managed to bring the period to a close with only one goal against.
Going into the third, head coach Rick Purcell predicted the River Rats would find the back of the net two to three times, but the goals wouldn’t necessarily be ‘pretty.’
“It’ll be hustle, hustle, hustle, digging, digging, digging,” he said.
“That’s the type of team that we have.”
The River Rats’ offense came alive in the third period, firing several shots on net from the get-go. Chuck McNeil capitalized on a high sticking penalty called on the Wild, and made the score 3-2 seven minutes into the period.
Moments later, it appeared the River Rats tied the game but the questioned goal was disallowed when referees said it was not clear if the puck, which was cushioned under the keeper’s pads once the play stopped, had crossed the line.
Ben Ross reminded his team, opponents and fans that every second counts when he pushed the puck past the Wild’s Tyler Reyno with 3.2 seconds left on the clock.
Morale was high at the River Rats bench going into the five-minute overtime bout, but the period was short lived. Andrew Osborne scored his second goal of the game 1:55 seconds into the play to make the final score 4-3 for the visitors.
Greenough saved 25 shots, while his teammates had 34 attempts on net. The River Rats wracked up eight minors and two misconducts. South Shore finished the game with 10 minor penalties, and one misconduct call.
Purcell, who was pleased with his team’s comeback in the third, said the River Rats also picked up an overtime point in Truro the night before they hosted the Wild.
“Every point in this league right now, especially with the top five teams, is crucial.”
As of Nov. 18, the River Rats were holding on to fifth place in the nine-team league standings with a one-point lead over the Clare Lions.
Purcell says he’d like the River Rats to be in third or fourth place before playoffs.
“We have a schedule coming up here where it allows us to gain a little bit of ground on the teams that are ahead of us, and we have to take advantage of that.”