A career night by Reagan Harding saved the day for the junior A New Westminster Salmonbellies in the opening game of the B.C. Junior Lacrosse League semifinal playoffs.
Harding scored five goals, including the game-winner, in New Westminster's 14-13 victory in overtime over the Delta Islanders at Ladner Arena on Saturday.
The Saskatoon native also posted the game-tying goal at 18:21 of the third period that sent the first game of the B.C. junior A best-of-five semifinal into a 10-minute extra time period.
In OT, New Westminster had to play catchup, like it did in both the second and third periods, following a go-ahead marker by Delta sniper Logan Schuss, who led all scorers with 10 points including his seventh goal of the game in the opening minute of extra time.
Tom Newton levelled the match less than two minutes later, setting the stage for Harding's game-winner a minute after that.
The Islanders, runner-up finishers ahead of the third-place Salmonbellies in regular season play, raced out to a 6-2 lead in the opening period on four goals by Schuss.
New Westminster knuckled down in the middle frame, shaving the deficit to a single goal on Harding's hat-trick marker at 6:59.
Kyle Dobbie eventually tied the matchup at 7-7 before intermediate callup Chase McIntyre gave the junior 'Bellies their first lead of the game at 8-7.
Schuss got that back and more with his fifth and sixth goals of the game, but Drew House got the visitors back on an equal footing, knotting the score at 9-9.
New West team captain Brandon Goodwin gave the Salmonbellies only their second lead of the contest with a goal in the opening minute of the period.
But Cody Nass put the home team back out in front on two separate occasions before Harding's game-tying counter less than two minutes before the end of time.
New Westminster backup keeper Spencer England came on in relief of starter Frankie Scigliano in the first period to register the win in goal. England stopped 26 Delta shots.
Harding currently leads all playoff scorers with 11 goals and 22 points.
Game 2 of the semifinal will be played on Monday at Queen's Park Arena. Game time is 8 p.m.