Langley Knights scorers have hot hand against Flames

The Langley Knights marched over the flickering Ridge Meadows Flames Thursday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

The Knights avenged their a 7-2 loss to the Flames back on Sept. 12, by trouncing the visitors 9-3 in Pacific Junior Hockey League action.

“In the first period, I thought we were okay,” Knights head coach John Craighead said. “I didn’t think we overly dominated them; shots were fairly even."

The turning point came with the score tied 3-3 in the second period. That’s when the Knights scored four unanswered goals to move ahead 7-3.

Langley’s Levi De Waal scored a pair of goals 2:02 apart to make it 5-3 Knights.

Carson Rose and Colin Catchpole, on a Knights power play, rounded out the period’s scoring.

The Flames, who trailed 3-1 after the opening frame, got goals 34 seconds apart from Andrew Strelezki and Tilton during the second minute of the middle stanza to tie the score.

Craighead was happy to see history not repeat itself.

In two of Langley’s three losses this season, they’ve been unable to hold onto a lead. The Knights led 2-0 against the North Vancouver Wolf Pack on Sept. 20 before falling 4-3, and 3-0 versus the Grandview Steelers on Sept. 28 before dropping a 6-5 decision.

“I’m not sure if the guys took their foot off the gas a bit [against Ridge Meadows], but it’s a lesson learned: you have to play the full 60 [minutes] to get the result,” Craighead said.

Ridge Meadows opened the scoring on a power play goal from Jordan Rendle, 3:15 after the opening puck drop.

The Knights rallied with three unanswered goals, off the sticks of Donovan Shambeau, Jacob Fricks, and Mitchell Biermann.

Biermann’s goal, on a Langley power play with 2:46 remaining in the opening frame, chased Flames goaltender Kurt Klimek from the net.

“If anything, I think they played their younger goaltender, perhaps thinking we’d be a little bit weaker by the simple fact they had an easy time with us [in the season opener], when they scored five power play goals,” Craighead said. “The key for us was to stay out of the penalty box.”

The hosts scored the only two goals of the third period from Jackson Surbey and Catchpole, on a Langley power play with 2:54 to go in regulation.

Catchpole led the Knights attack with two goals and two assists. De Waal tallied twice and added a helper for a three-point night.

Things turned ugly with 44 seconds remaining in the game, with several game misconducts doled out to both teams. The Knights

Jacob Gushue was hit with a fighting major, two minute minor for instigating, and a game misconduct. By game’s end, Gushue had amassed 27 minutes in penalties.

“They felt a little frustration and the game got a little bit chippy,” Craighead said.

Klimek, who returned to the Flames’ goal after Tyler Read surrendered three goals on 10 shots, was given a two-minute minor for leaving the crease.

Knights goaltender Nickolas Trenciansky had a strong night, stopping 33 of 36 shots.

The Knights, who relocated to Langley from North Delta during the off-season, improved to 4-3 with the win and have scored a staggering 31 goals in their four home games.

The goal totals don’t surprise Craighead.

“It’s how I built the team,” he said. “One of the things from last year was, we had a very defensive team and had to go to trap system because we didn’t have that kind of scoring power. This year we changed it up a bit and brought in some scoring, and the guys from last year have more confidence.”

Next up for the Knights is their first trip to Aldergrove Arena to take on the defending PJHL champion Kodiaks. Game time Wednesday is 7:15 p.m.

Craighead is looking forward to seeing his team take on every team in the league, including the Kodiaks.

“There are a lot of good teams that we haven’t played yet, so it’s hard to get a gauge on where we’re at as a team,” he said. “Once we get 20 games into the season, we tend to have idea of where we’re at.”

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