River Rats lose 5-4 in overtime to Fundy Rhinos

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Published on January 28, 2014

River Rat Taran Bailey gives chase to Fundy Rhino Drew Perkins early in the first period Jan. 26. It took overtime to determine a winner.

Published on January 28, 2014

Anthony Sangster made some pretty stellar saves for the Avon River Rats, turning away 14 of 19 shots in total. Also pictured is Wyatt Oulton, No. 14, and Fundy Rhino Brandan Beaulieu.

Published on January 28, 2014

Shayne Gillis challenges Fundy Rhino Matt Calder for the puck during the River Rats' home game Jan. 26 at the Hants Exhibition Arena. The Rats lost in overtime 5-4.

Published on January 28, 2014

Anthony Sangster made some pretty stellar saves for the Avon River Rats, turning away 14 of 19 shots during their 5-4 overtime loss to the Fundy Rhinos Jan. 26.

Published on January 28, 2014

Team captain Dave Phillips holds his ground in front of Rhinos net Jan. 26. Phillips went on to score a power-play goal in the second period. Pictured for the Fundy Rhinos are Greg Capstick and goalie Eric Durand.

Published on January 28, 2014

Stuart Whidden pops the River Rats' fourth goal of the evening past Fundy Rhinos goaltender Eric Durand Jan. 26. The River Rats lost 5-4 in overtime.

Published on January 28, 2014

This was one of the last saves Fundy Rhinos goaltender Eric Durand made Jan. 26 before being helped off the ice during their match against the Avon River Rats.

Published on January 28, 2014

Jeremy Parker and Ben Ross worked in concert to steal the puck from this Fundy Rhino as the teams were tied 4-4 in the third period.

Published on January 28, 2014

Jake Hopewell, who scored the River Rats' first goal of the evening, blocks a shot as the third period came to a close. The hometown team forced the Jan. 26 game against the Fundy Rhinos into overtime.

Sunday afternoon's game between the Avon River Rats and Fundy Rhino Renovations was gut-wrenching to watch because of the type of loss the River Rats suffered.

The Rats are now 12-14-1 on the season as a result of their 5-4 overtime setback Jan. 26, and only have one regular season game left to play in the Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League. As a result, they won’t make their goal of going .5 on the season.

The overtime goal by Fundy was made on the power-play with 3:16 remaining.

The Rhino's Brennan Hartling came from behind the Rats’ net and rifled a hard wrist shot past Avon’s goaltender Anthony Sangster for the game winner.

Perry MacDonald opened the scoring for the Rhinos in the first period.

Fundy then took a pair of back-to-back penalties, giving the River Rats a two-man power play for 1:35. It took the Rats only five seconds to tie the game as Jake Hopewell drilled a shot from inside the blue line to best the Fundy goalie.

Then, with a mad scramble in front of the Fundy net, Tyler Young made it 2-1 for the home team to give them the lead heading into the second.

Midway through the second period, the Rhinos held a two-man advantage and they made the River Rats pay, scoring twice in 12 seconds to take a 3-2 lead.

Shortly after losing the lead, the River Rats had a four-minute power-play. With 1:01 left on the power-play, Jeremy Parker let a shot go from the point which was tipped in by team captain Dave Phillips to tie the game up.

Sangster stayed sharp in nets, making a great point blank pad save with just 1:06 remaining in the second.  

Then, Stuart Whidden put the Rats up 4-3 with a sensational goal, scoring with 2.6 seconds remaining in the second.  

With just under five minutes gone in the third period, Fundy tied it at 4-4.

Shortly after this goal, the game took an ugly turn as the Rhino starting goaltender, Eric Durand, appeared to take a stick to the mask. After standing for a few seconds, he fell to the ice and had to be helped off the ice. The Rhinos then did everything in their power to engage the River Rats in some form of confrontation.

The referee began assessing misconducts and even handed out a game misconduct to one player.

The RCMP were called to the arena during the third period after some Truro players were allegedly pounding on the dressing room walls.

The game remained tied 4-4 until the overtime Fundy goal.



Final game up in the air

The Avon River Rats are supposed to conclude their regular season Wednesday night, Jan. 29, at home against the second place Amherst Colts.

As of press time, it is unclear whether the game would indeed be played as the Amherst team indicated they were not in favour of making the trip.

If the game is cancelled, the River Rats hockey team plans to hold a practice instead since the ice time was already rented.



Rats to open playoffs versus Barrington

Although controversy initially surrounded the opening playoff series between the Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs and the River Rats, the schedule has been amicably worked out.

It will be a Best of Five series. The opening two games have been scheduled for this weekend — Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1 — in Barrington.

Initially, the third playoff game was scheduled for Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, however, after some shuffling of schedules, Game 3 will take place Friday, Feb. 7 at 7:45 p.m. in Windsor.

Should Game 4 be required, the River Rats will host the fourth place Ice Dogs Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:45 p.m.

Should a fifth game be necessary, they will travel back to Barrington on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Junior C Hockey League, RCMP, Avon River Rats Fundy Rhino Renovations Amherst Colts Barrington Sea Star Ice Dogs

Geographic location: Barrington, Windsor, Hants County

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