Ridge Meadows Flames allege that one of their point blasts with four minutes left in regulation time went through the Port Moody Black Panthers' net.
Subsequently, Joel Hamilton's shot 36 seconds into overtime went through the Flames' heart.
Hamilton's powerplay tally gave host PoMo a 4-3 Pacific International Jr. 'B' hockey league victory and an eight-point margin over Ridge with a mere 10 regular-season games remaining for the Cats, who virtually put a lock on at least second spot in the five-team Harold Brittain Conference and moved within two points of the pack-leading Abbotsford Pilots.
The goal came after the Flames' apparent tally was disallowed when referee Brad Kahn failed to find a hole in the Cats' cage webbing, and with PoMo on a powerplay that carried over into OT after the Flames' Cory Day was whistled for a slashing infraction with 1:39 remaining. The Cats are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 outings.
"It could have gone through the net, I don't know," said Cats general manager Ron Luniw, who added he didn't witness it first hand. "The ref couldn't find a hole in the netting and disallowed it. That's the way the game goes.
"I remember two weeks ago when we were in Mission [playing the Icebreakers] and, after we were up 3-0, they tied it when a shot hit our crossbar and dropped down in the goal crease. I was standing right [in line with] the goal-line and it didn't go in, but the ref said it did. Those are the breaks."
Said Flames GM and head coach Tavis Eaton: "The puck went through the net and out the other side. I saw it, our guys saw it, but the referee didn't. But those things happen.
"It's tough because it probably would have won us the game. I guess the hockey gods were not on our side that night."
Port Moody jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the game was five minutes old on goals by Jackson Hewitt and Trevor Kang. After the Flames battled back to knot the count 2-2 early in the second frame, Ryan Hankin put the Cats up 3-2 with a powerplay strike at the 5:56 mark.
Again the Flames didn't buckle, trying the score 3-3 on a shorthanded marker from Dustin Cervo midway through the second, with the second half of regulation time going scoreless.
The heroic goal by the PoCo-product Hamilton tied him for the team lead in that category with Trevor Kang, both with 18.
Hamilton was one of four Cats to skate in Monday's PIJHL all-star contest in Abbotsford, along with Chris Stew, Ryan Panichelli and Brandon Millin. Kang was also selected to play in the glitter game but could not due to school commitments. The Shaw team beat the Brittain unit, 15-14 in OT.
The Cats play three games in fewer than three days starting Friday when they visit the Pilots in a crucial four-point affair. They then return home Saturday to play the Delta Ice Hawks at PoMo Rec Complex, 7:45 p.m., before engaging in a Sunday matinee with the Grandview Steelers at Burnaby Winter Club.
Luniw said the tilts against a trio of teams housing better records than the Cats will prove a true test of his team's character with playoffs looming.
"This is the real deal," Luniw said. "We're healthy, so we have no excuses. We've got the manpower. We just have go out and get the job done."
ICING: Coquitlam Express host the Nanaimo Clippers in a B.C. Jr. 'A' league contest Wednesday at the Sports Centre, 7 p.m.
-- with files by Robert Mangelsdorf