A lot can happen in seven days or less.
For example: last week at this time, the Langley Rivermen were rolling, winners of six in a row.
Today, the ’Men are looking for answers, particularly on offence, after suffering a pair of regulation losses on Langley Events Centre ice, 3-0 to the
Chilliwack Chiefs last Wednesday night and 3-1 to the Prince George Spruce Kings on Sunday afternoon.
Sandwiched between those losses was a hard-fought, 1-1 tie with the Penticton Vees Saturday at the LEC.
The good news is, thanks in large part to its win streak earlier this month, the local junior A squad remains perched at the top of the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division with a still-solid 9-5-1-1 record.
The 'Men are two points up on the Coquitlam Express (8-5-0-2) and Spruce Kings (8-7-1-1) and five points better than the Surrey Eagles (7-8-1).
The Chiefs occupy the division basement with a 2-8-1-2 mark.
Prince George Spruce Kings 3, Rivermen 1
The Spruce Kings led 2-0 after the first period on an unassisted powerplay goal from Jeremiah Luedtke 6:43 into the game, and a marker from Chad Staley at the 13:01 mark.
After a scoreless second period, the Rivermen narrowed the deficit to one goal 6:11 into the third period when Jakob Reichert scored his sixth of the season on a Langley powerplay.
The score remained 2-1 until, with 1:25 remaining in regulation, Luedtke scored his second of the night to seal the victory.
Rivermen 1, Penticton Vees 1
Facing a BCHL powerhouse, the Rivermen jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Matt Ustaski’s unassisted, shorthanded effort at the 3:46 mark of the second period.
Ustaski outraced a Vees defenceman to a loose puck before wedging it past Penticton goaltender Hunter Miska.
The lead lasted until the 5:24 mark of the final frame, when the Vees’ Ben Dalpe tied the game.
Neither team scored over the final 14 minutes and change of the third period, and through two overtime periods.
Chilliwack Chiefs 3, Rivermen 0
The ’Men might want to re-consider hosting home games on week nights when the BCHL braintrust maps out its schedule for next season.
It could be that fans had more of an inclination to spend what’s called “hump day” at home, or it could be attributed to straight out apathy, but just 435 folks visited a LEC arena bowl that seats more than 4,000, to watch the Rivermen lose to the Chiefs.
Odds were that the Rivermen would be able to handle a Chiefs team that has stumbled out to a surprisingly listless 1-7-1-1 start to its campaign.
But you can never underestimate a team coached by BCHL veteran bench boss Harvey Smyl, whose team snapped a six-game winless slide.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period on a goal from former Riverman Ben Butcher at the 14:43 mark, followed by a powerplay marker off the stick of Carter Cochrane 2:05 later.
The game remained scoreless through most of the next two periods.
The Chiefs’ Zach Daimantoni scored with 27 seconds remaining in regulation time to finish the night’s scoring.
The Chiefs outshot the Rivermen 30-26, and had a whopping nine powerplay opportunities, compared to the Langley’s three man advantages.
Chiefs goaltender Josh Halpenny earned the shutout, win, and first star honours.
The Rivermen’s extended home stand continues this Thursday, Oct. 24, when they host the Coquitlam Express. Game time is 7:15 p.m. at the LEC.
Then, this Saturday, Oct. 26, the West Kelowna Warriors are in town to play the Rivermen, starting at 7:15 p.m. at the LEC.
Saturday is “Trick or Suite Night” at the LEC. Kids get in free with a costume.
Tickets to both games are available online at www.langleyrivermen.com, or at the LEC box office.
@ Copyright 2013