It’s do or die for the Avon River Rats.
After a 10 game losing streak, the Junior C River Rats will be battling for a playoff position for the remainder of their regular season.
The last place Fundy Phantoms took the River Rats by surprise at the Newport District Arena Jan. 27, scoring five points, including one power-play goal, on the home team in the first period.
Corey Dewtie blasted a shot in from the point to make it 1-0 for the River Rats 16 seconds into the first period, but it didn’t take the Fundy Phantoms long to recoup.
Ben Nelson, a native of Windsor attending school in Truro, and Dalton Turner both scored two points for the Fundy Phantoms in the first period. Andy West scored the River Rats’ second goal, with assists from Tom Malone and Jon Dunbar, midway through the period.
The River Rats pulled starting goaltender Coleman Ueffing at the 7:59-minute mark in the first, and put Jesse Lawrence between the pipes for the remainder of the game.
Each team added one point to their score in the second, with River Rats Captain Dave Phillips capitalizing on a well-executed play assisted by Ryan Helpard and Dunbar.
The Fundy Phantoms secured the win in the third, adding another three points to their score. Nelson, who scored a shorthanded goal for the Phantoms in the second, poked one more in, finishing the game with four goals and two assists.
Helpard was kicked out of the game for dropping the gloves in the third, and landing a few jabs on a Fundy Phantoms player while referees tried to break up the fight.
The River Rats added five minors, one major and a 10-minute misconduct to their overall penalty minutes, while the Fundy Phantoms recorded four minors, a major and one game misconduct.
Matt MacMinn stopped 34 of 37 shots for the win. For the River Rats, Lawrence saved 31 of 35 shots fired his way, and Ueffing blocked five of 10.
The River Rats are still one point ahead of the Fundy Phantoms in the league standings. They will faceoff against the third-place Spryfield Silver and Black Attack at the Hants Exhibition Arena in Windsor Feb. 1 at 7:30 p.m.