It has been a month since the Avon River Rats lost a hockey game in the Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League.
Their last loss came in Spryfield on Dec. 14. Since that time, they have registered five consecutive wins, including a weekend sweep of the Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs.
On Friday, Jan. 10, in Barrington, the Rats won 6-5, and on Sunday, Jan. 12, at home, they took the game 5-4 in a shootout.
Sunday's game in Windsor, before one of the largest crowds of the season for the River Rats, started on a sour note with fans protesting vehemently that Barrington's first goal had not crossed the line.
Referee Bob Best disagreed and it was 1-0 Ice Dogs.
The River Rats tied it up when Matt Lahey outskated the Barrington defense and made a superb pass to Ben Nelson, who had no difficulty putting the puck into the net.
A Barrington defender, standing alone in front of the River Rats net, gave the visitors a 2-1 lead as the first period came to a close.
Newcomer Shayne Gillis, who garnered three points on the afternoon for the River Rats, tied the game at 2-2 early in the second period.
After escaping some considerable pressure by the River Rats, Barrington finally got the puck out of their end, skated hard toward the Avon net and with 5.4 seconds left in the period, grabbed a 3-2 lead.
In the final period, Nelson tied it up for the River Rats on a hard wrist shot. Gillis, a former East Hants Penguins player with the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League, then demonstrated some great stick handling as he backhanded a shot home for a 4-3 Avon lead.
Barrington then responded, tying the game 4-4.
The Hants County team outshot the Ice Dogs 18-8 in the final period as they tried to secure the win.
The teams remained scoreless through the five-minute overtime period.
In the shootout, both teams missed on their first shot, with Nelson hitting the goal post. Both teams scored on their second attempts, with Tyler Young registering the goal for the River Rats.
Gillis then won it for the River Rats with a great shot that at first rang off the goal post before dropping behind into the Barrington net.
Friday night action
Before a large crowd in Barrington, the River Rats fell behind 4-3 after 40 minutes Jan. 10, only to rally in the third with three goals to win it 6-5.
They were outshot in the game 47-38.
Lahey opened the game's scoring for Avon just 3:24 into the opening period.
Ethan Spence and Nelson both scored on the power-play in the second period.
With just 1:14 having expired off the clock in the final period, Sam Ross tied the game 4-4 before Young's goal (his 21st of the season) then put the team ahead 5-4. Young is the Rats’ leading scorer this season.
David Phillips scored the game's final goal for Avon.
Defenseman and second team league All-Star Corey Dewtie, who had a three-point night, garnered his 21st assist of the season.
Coming up next
The two weekend wins pulled the River Rats to within one game of the .500 mark on the 2013-14 season. They have three games remaining in their regular season, including one this Friday, Jan. 17, at the Hants Exhibition Arena when the take on the second place 16-4-1 Amherst Colts. Game time is 7:30 p.m.