Vancouver – Seth Oakes and Kevin Crowley scored with under three minutes left in regulation, and Stephan Leblanc scored his fourth goal of the game 45 seconds into overtime on an assist from Shawn Evans as the New England Black Wolves rallied for a 12-11 win over the Vancouver Stealth at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday night.
Leblanc also had an assist while newcomer Johnny Powless – acquired in a trade with Georgia on Tuesday – had two goals and an assist. Rookie defenseman Colton Watkinson had his first two-goal game for New England.
The Black Wolves (5-4) snapped a three-game losing streak while handing the Stealth (1-10) their sixth straight loss. Vancouver fell to 0-5 at home.
New England never led in regulation, trailing by as much as 4-0 and 5-1 in the second quarter before cutting the deficit to one goal on three different occasions in the second half. Each time, Vancouver responded.
After Watkinson’s second goal made it 10-9 with 8:30 left in regulation, Tony Malcom put the Stealth back up by two goals with 5:33 left.
It was still 11-9 with 2:48 remaining when Oakes beat Vancouver goalie Eric Penney with 2:48 remaining. Crowley followed up with 2:16 left to tie the game. He extended his streak of games with at least one goal to 28, and also had two assists.
Rhys Duch and Joel McCready each had two goals and two assists for Vancouver while Andrew Suitor and Corey Small had a pair of goals.
For the seventh time in nine games this season, New England found itself trailing early as Small beat Aaron Bold just 1:18 into the game. It was the sixth time this season the Black Wolves allowed the first goal of the game within the first two minutes.
Suitor made it 2-0 in the 10th minute of the first quarter, and Penney turned away all 11 shots he faced in those first 10 minutes. It was just the second time Vancouver led after the first quarter this season.
Goals by Suitor and Matt Beers pushed the Vancouver lead to 4-0 just 4:03 into the second quarter.
New England, which hit the post twice and had a goal by Watkinson waved off because of a crease violation, finally broke through 5:41 into the second quarter. Vancouver forward Duch answered less than a minute later to make it 5-1, but Leblanc and Powless helped cut the deficit to 5-3 at the break.
Vancouver and New England combined for nine goals in the third quarter, with each team scoring three times in the first five minutes. A Powless goal with 1:40 left in the third made it 9-8 heading into the fourth quarter.
Small made it 10-8 39 seconds into the fourth quarter and Malcom responded to the Watkinson goal, setting up the final rally for New England.
The Black Wolves are in action next at Toronto on March 11th. Game time is scheduled for 3 p.m.