Considering the circumstances, Sunday’s win in Nanaimo was a monumental momentum builder for a Langley Rivermen team that needed a boost in a major way.
The Rivermen’s 4-2 victory over a strong Nanaimo Clippers team helped salvage, somewhat, a grueling three games in two-and-a-half days weekend road trip through Vancouver Island and Coastal B.C.
“I was pretty happy with the way we played,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said, as the players and coaches arrived in town Monday morning after stormy weather stranded them on Vancouver Island the night before. “It’s the way we expect these guys to play. It was a tough weekend, travel-wise, for us. It is what it is. All in all, I was pretty happy with our performance.”
After Nanaimo’s Bo Brauer opened the scoring on a Clippers’ powerplay early in the first period, the Rivermen scored the next three to take a 4-1 lead with 11 minutes and change to go in regulation time.
Austin Azurdia and Matt Ustaski staked the Rivermen to a 2-1 lead after the first period.
Langley’s Kevan Kilistoff scored the only goal of the second period, and Will Cook gave the ’Men a three-goal lead when he scored eight-and-a-half minutes into the final frame.
Nanaimo’s Colton Dahlen rounded out the game’s scoring with six minutes and two seconds left in the third period.
Goaltender Steve Myland earned his first win in a Rivermen jersey, stopping 15 of 17 shots.
Henderson said the win was a team effort, especially considering that, after a 9:30 p.m. start time the night before in Port Alberni and a long day on the bus, the ’Men were playing their second game in 14 hours.
“We had everybody going,” he said. “All the guys showed up and everybody did their job.”
Heading into the game, the ’Men were in danger of going “o-for” the weekend.
They were doubled 4-2 by the Powell River Kings Friday and clipped 4-3 by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Saturday.
The victory over Nanaimo keeps the Rivermen above the .500 mark at 4-3-0-1 as the B.C. Hockey League season enters its second month.
Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4, Rivermen 3
The windy, wet weather played havoc on the Rivermen’s travel plans, which left them road weary for their game against Alberni Valley.
At the final buzzer, the ’Men had the dubious distinction of being the first team the previously winless Bulldogs have beaten this season, after an 0-7-1 start.
In a replay of the previous night in Powell River, the visitors had a second period to forget, as the Bulldogs scored three goals to the Rivermen’s one, to carry a 4-2 lead into the third frame.
Alberni Valley’s Luca Doctor scored 21 seconds after the puck was dropped to open the second period, to move the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
Ryan Buse scored unassisted 2:36 later to make it 3-1 for the Bulldogs.
At the 8:16 mark of the second, the Rivermen’s James Robinson scored a shorthanded goal, his second of the game (he opened the scoring 10:38 into the first period) to bring Langley to within a goal.
But with 2:03 to go in the frame, the Bulldogs’ Mitch Makin answered with his second of the night on an Alberni Valley powerplay to restore the two-goal lead.
Langley’s Jakob Reichert scored on a powerplay 15:33 into the third period, but that was as close as the visitors would get.
Pressing for the tying goal, the Rivermen outshot the Bulldogs 15-8 in the third period, but could only get one by Bulldogs’ goaltender Tyger Howat, who was named the game’s third star.
Powell River Kings 4, Rivermen 2
After a scoreless opening period, the Kings took control during the middle stanza by outscoring the Rivermen 3-1.
With the game tied 1-1, Powell River scored found the net twice in the final six minutes of the second frame, including a powerplay tally from Kurt Keats at the 14:47 mark, followed by a goal from Stephen Hiff with 1:31 to go in the period.
Ryan Scarfo scored 6:40 into the third period to give the Kings a 4-1 lead.
Langley’s Azurdia scored his second of the night near the midway point of the third period to round out the game’s scoring.
@ Copyright 2013