Erik Maas’s last-second goal Tuesday was the epitome of a timely goal.
The third-year New Westminster junior A Salmonbellie forward cashed in his third of the game with one second left in regulation to lift his team to an 8-7 triumph over the PoCo Saints at Queen’s Park Arena.
The victory boosted the 'Bellies record to 8-4, good for third place in the junior circuit.
In a game that saw the lead change seven times, New West was fortunate to get the last laugh.
Maas’s goal, his 13th of the season, came with an extra attacker on the floor and the pressure on the PoCo defence. Out-shot through the first 40 minutes, New West pushed the pace in the third in what was a flashy, offensive final frame.
The two teams entered the third period tied 2-2, then found the scoring rhythm as they tested the goalkeepers with a flurry of shots. Trading tallies back and forth, the game had all the earmarks of a showdown at the OK Corral, with PoCo grabbing a 5-4 lead with just over 13 minutes remaining.
The ‘Bellies replied with three markers, off the sticks of Will Malcom, Cam Garlin and Maas to go up 7-5 and appear to hold the hammer with 7:13 on the clock. But the visitors didn’t waiver, counting two of their own, with Jacob Dunbar’s tally with 5:35 remaining knotting the score 7-7.
Maas’s goal prevented overtime.
Garlin finished with two goals and three assists, while Malcom netted two goals and two helpers. Jacob Patterson chipped in a goal and two assists, while netminder Brayden Bell stopped 36 shots.
At the other end, Kyle Mooney kicked out 41 shots.
It was New West’s third win in a row. Last Saturday, they stopped Nanaimo 10-8, thanks to a pair of goals by Malcom in the final 1:19 of the game. He finished the night with five goals and one assist.
The hometown sharpshooter sits fifth in league scoring with 20 goals and 44 assists over 12 games.
Tre Leclaire netted a pair and set up four others, while Garlin finished with a four-point game.
The ’Bellies, who improved to 8-4, host Victoria on Sunday, 5 p.m., and play Burnaby on Tuesday (8 p.m.), both at Queen’s Park Arena.