A couple of days after losing 5-2 on the road to the Merritt Centennials last Wednesday, the Langley Rivermen were hoping for a bounce back game at Surrey Surrey Arena.
The â€™Men delivered Friday night, clipping the sagging Eagles 4-1.
Itâ€™s been a miserable season for an Eagles team that has a measly seven wins in 43 games and is buried in the B.C. Hockey Leagueâ€™s Mainland Division cellar, with no hope of climbing out of it.
So naturally, youâ€™d assume they would be the ideal tonic for the â€˜Men, who are determined to keep pace with the Chilliwack Chiefs in the race for top spot in the Mainland.
However, Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said the Eagles were not easy prey, at all.
â€œSurreyâ€™s been playing some pretty good hockey of late,â€ Henderson said. â€œTheir record is not indicative of their ability, and it was actually a pretty entertaining game for most part, until the third period. Then we opened it up a bit.â€
In what is shaping up to be a two-team battle, the Chiefs (25-14-1-1) not only have a one-point edge on the Rivermen (23-16-1-4), they also have three games in hand.
â€œWe want to win the division,â€ Henderson said. â€œBut the top two teams get home ice advantage [in the playoffs], so it really doesnâ€™t matter who we play in the first round, itâ€™s going to be a tough series. We donâ€™t put a whole lot of emphasis on it [winning the Mainland] but it is a chance to win something fairly significant.â€
With a 2-1 lead against the Eagles, the Rivermen gave themselves some breathing room after a scoreless second period.
Goals from Matthew Graham at the 5:10 mark of the third period and Hunter Anderson with 2:41 to go in regulation turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 advantage, and iced the win for the visitors.
The Rivermen notched the first two goals of the night, with Justin Szeto drawing first blood 3:20 after the opening puck drop and, with 2:01 to go in the opening frame, Evan Anderson beating Surrey goaltender Daniel Davidson on a Langley power play, with what turned out to be the game winner.
But with just one second remaining in the first period, Darius Davidson scored Surreyâ€™s lone marker to narrow the Eaglesâ€™ deficit to 2-1.
Outside of Davidsonâ€™s buzzer beater in the first, Langleyâ€™s 17-year-old goaltender Bo Didur was perfect, stopping 27 shots, including 11 in the second period and eight in the third stanza.
The Rivermen return to the Langley Events Centre on Wednesday to take the Chiefs. Game time is at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the
LEC box office or online at langleyrivermen.com.
The teams have seen a ton of each other in 2015, playing three games over a three-day span Jan. 9-11, with the â€˜Men coming away with two victories after losing the first match-up.
ICE CHIPS: Henderson said â€œit wasnâ€™t for a lack of effortâ€ in the loss to Merritt.
â€œIt took us some time to adjust playing in a smaller rink,â€ he added.