The Prince George Spruce Kings earned five out of a possible six points on their final road trip of the regular season last weekend.
With already two wins in their pocket against their B.C. Hockey League rivals Chilliwack Saturday and Coquitlam Friday, the Kings almost had their sixth point when they rallied from behind but had to settle for a 3-3 double-overtime tie Sunday in Langley.
"You have to be happy with five of six points, it would have been nice to have six out of six, but we have to be better," said Kings assistant coach Colton Buffie Sunday night while en route back to Prince George. "I think being down two to three goals and coming back shows our resiliency, no matter what the situation."
Prince George trailed the Langley Rivermen 3-2 late in the third period until Mitch Eden scored the equalizer on his backhand with 90 seconds left in regulation time.
The first four-on-four overtime solved nothing and neither did the second three-on-three overtime and the two teams settled for a point each.
The Rivermen remain atop the Mainland Division with a record of 35-13-3-5 with 78 points, while the Spruce Kings remain in second place at 32-18-4-2 and 70 points.
Brogan O'Brien opened the scoring for the Spruce Kings early in the first period of the matinee tilt, but the Rivermen answered with goals from Matt Utaski (power play) and Tyson Witala by the end of the frame.
After a scoreless second period, Skylar Pacheco blasted a high shot from inside the blue line 30 seconds into a Kings power play to tie the game at 2-2.
Evan Anderson put the Rivermen ahead 3-2 at the 13:22 mark and appeared to be the winner until Eden scored to send the game into extra time.
Kings netminder Alex Murray swept aside 37 of 40 shots, while his counterpart Brock Crosswaithe made 34 saves.
Sunday was the second straight night Prince George reached double overtime.
Saturday in Chilliwack against the Chiefs, the Kings rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the second period only to have the Chiefs tie the game at 4-4 and send the game into overtime.
Justin Rai scored the winner, his second of the night, 19 seconds into double overtime to give the Kings the 5-4 victory.
Chiefs scored three times in the first period on a pair of goals from Jordan Kawaguchi, and a single tally from Mathieu Tibbet.
That forced Prince George's coaching staff to pull netminder Jesse Jenks in favour of Murray to play the remainder of the game.
Sean Landrey began the Kings comeback in the second period with a power play tally. Rai and Marco Ballarin scored 45 seconds apart later on in the frame. Rai's goal came with the man-advantage.
Rai then set up Chad Staley early in the third period to give the Kings a narrow 4-3 edge.
Jaret Babych knotted the game at 4-4 at the 14:34 mark and neither team could score the winner in regulation.
"We were down 3-0 and we needed to try and find something to spark the guys," said Buffie. "Things started to turn around and the momentum started to swing our way. It showed we can come back and we never gave up."
The Chiefs remained in fifth place in the Mainland Division and out of the playoffs with a record of 13-36-2-5.
Rai, defenceman Karan Toor and forward Brent Lashuk didn't play Sunday in Langley so they could deal with some nagging injuries.
The Spruce Kings returned home early this morning and will have a quick turn-around as they prepare to host the Rivermen Thursday and Friday nights at the Coliseum in their final two games of the regular season.
The results won't have any consequences on the final standings. Langley has already clinched first place in the Mainland Division going into the playoffs and Prince George has secured the second spot.
The Kings will host third-place Coquitlam Express March 4 and 5 in Games 1 and 2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Buffie knows the Kings can't dig themselves any more holes going forward.
"We have to stay focused on not being down [all the time]," he said. "Against Coquitlam, we've got to be ready to play 60 minutes."
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