It hasn't been the start to the season they'd hoped, but the past two games have demonstrated that if they work together, 2019 may still be a good year for the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
By rallying from a 4-0 deficit Wednesday to collect a 15-11 overtime victory over the Delta Islanders on Wednesday, the 'Bellies showed resilence.
It came on the heels of an 8-7 loss to the defending Mann Cup champion Coquitlam Adanacs a day earlier.
Against Delta, New West found themselves in quite a hole after six minutes of play, trailing 4-0. It was still a four-goal hill just 1:25 into the second period after Delta's Haiden Dickson notched his third of the night. After a three-goal surge by the visitors put the 'Bellies back in contention, the two teams would extend the game after a series of 'one for you, one for me' over the final 30 minutes.
Brendan Szabo pulled the Islanders even with 1:36 remaining in the third, setting the stage for a furious 10-minute extra session.
And that's where New West thrived, scoring four unanswered goals, including Cam Garlin's eventual game winner.
Tre Leclaire led the way with a five-goal, five-assist effort, while Will Malcom registered seven assists. Garlin finished with two goals and four helpers, with Austin Ducommun and Erik Maas chipping in with two apiece.
A day earlier, the best sign up until then was in keeping it close with Coquitlam.
The Adanacs won it on a two-goal outburst with five minutes left in the third period. Prior to that, the game saw some give and take, but the ‘Bellies displayed some urgency and determination in overcoming a four-goal deficit to deadlock the game early in the third period.
After the Adanacs rolled ahead 6-2 on the strength of three straight goals in a span of 2:53 midway through the second frame, New West countered with four consecutive markers of their own, including the first two of the season for Leclaire. His second of the night, with 13:34 remaining in the third, seemed to cool the offence as both teams settled into a staring match.
It wasn’t until the final six minutes when Coquitlam surged ahead again, this time on a goal from Max Semple. Less than 50 seconds later, Trevor Funk upped the Adanacs advantage to 8-6.
New West made it interesting, creeping within a goal on Ben Stewart’s second of the game. They were unable to beat Nate Faccin in the final four minutes to tie it.
Faccin ended up turning aside 46 shots in the win, while the ‘Bellies’ Brayden Bell made 40 saves.
It came less than a week after New West registered its first win of the season, a 9-7 decision over the Delta Islanders at Queen’s Park.
After a sluggish start saw the ‘Bellies fall behind 3-1 after 20 minutes, a likely reading of the riot act between periods by coach Rich Catton produced a five-goal run by the home team. The sniping duo of Maas and Garlin posted two goals apiece, including four in a span of 1:52 before the midway mark of the second period.
Although the Islanders replied with four of their own, retaking the lead with 8:13 left in the game on Dickson’s powerplay tally, New West would get the last word with three unanswered goals.
Kai George tied the game with a shorthanded marker, followed by Maas, with 4:10 remaining, and Drew Andre.
Bell was rock-steady in turning back 42 shots.
New West, which earlier lost 6-5 to Burnaby and now holds a 2-3 record, visits Port Coquitlam on Friday, and hosts Langley on May 21, 8 p.m. at Queen’s Park Arena.