It’s crunch time in the Men’s Rec League.
With most teams having five games left in the regular season, the race for the eighth-and-final playoff spot is underway. Dusty’s currently holds onto the coveted eighth position in the 10-team standings, two points ahead of the Walsh Restoration Shooters.
Behind them, and in dire straits, sit the Tapley’s Rooftop in last. But the gap between sixth and 10th place is only five points, so there is plenty of drama left to play out before the final postseason seedings are decided.
Stepping into the winners circle on Monday (Jan. 28), the Tapley’s Rooftop defeated the Fairmont Flyers by a score of 7-4. Rooftop forward Matt Russtrom led the way for the Rooftop with a hat trick in the win, while teammates Brian Dixon and Taffy Lewis netted two goals apiece.
Dixon would bag the game-winner with less than one second remaining in the second period via a strange play unfolding from the offensive blue line. A Hail Mary pass from Russtrom flipped over the opposing defenceman’s head onto the waiting stick blade of Dixon, who found the top left corner over Flyer goaltender Robert Wagner with 0.1 seconds left on the clock.
The Rooftop earned their fourth win of the season — better late than never, as the saying goes — and time will tell if they can manage a few more to make the race for the last spot as entertaining as it should be. Goaltender Dan Cindric faced 27 shots in the win. The Rooftop’s next game is a crucial one against Dusty’s on Feb. 4.
The Pemberton Chainsaws took on the Black’s Pub Marmots later Monday, defeating the Marmots in a high-scoring game, 8-7. The see-saw battle saw the Marmots open the scoring on a power-play effort when veteran defenseman Taylor Wilson beat Chainsaw goaltender Evan MacAllister early in the first period, assisted by Chris Felice and Ugo Jean. The Chainsaws would answer with a goal from Hunter Nelson assisted by Keenan Nagle to end the period in a 1-1 tie.
Back-and-forth scoring continued in the middle frame, starting with Chainsaws forward Brenton Meadows’s goal, which was followed by another from Marmot Ian Reith. Shortly after, Marmot Andrew Fawcett briefly gave his team a one-goal lead, but Nelson would add his second of the night to end the period tied at 3-3.
Period 3 would continue in the same fashion with the Chainsaws leading off with a goal from Tom Halverson, followed by one from Marmot veteran John Lantaigne. Pemberton’s Meadows put his team back in front late in the period to put pressure on the Marmots with time running down. Taking advantage of a late power-play opportunity, vets Lanteigne and Wilson would combine for yet another game-tying goal.
The game would prove to be a spirited affair, with the Chainsaws perhaps taking advantage of their youth to finally gain the upper hand with a late goal from Craig Halliday, who had a four-point outing. Chainsaw goaltender Evan McAllister made 24 saves for the win.
Wrapping up Monday night’s games, first-place Summitsport would bounce back from a recent loss at the paws of the Timberview Bruins to defeat the Longhorn Mighty Moose 5-4 in shootout. The Moose overcame a two-goal deficit late in the third period to tie the game at 4-4 and force overtime.
The Summitsport won the shootout 2-0, with Brett Milner getting credit for the winner. With the win, Summitpsort remains atop the standings with 36 points, two points ahead of the Marmots and the Blackcomb Blackhawks.
The next scheduled Rec League games are Friday (Feb. 1) with the Fairmont Flyers in a basement, bare-knuckle brawl against the Walsh Restoration Shooters; the Blackhawks taking on the Moose; and a late-show screening of the Chainsaws versus Dusty’s. For other hockey, the A League is taking a break over the weekend for the Super Bowl — and Beyonce Knowles’s half-time (assumed) lip-sync, dancing and light show ‘entertainment’ — resuming the schedule the following Tuesday (Feb. 5).