Langley Rivermen captain Jordan Schneider and goaltender Bo Didur showed their emotions after the ’Men lost 3-1 to Washington State’s Wenatchee Wild Friday at the George Preston Recreation Centre. The loss eliminated the Rivermen from the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.

Langley Rivermen couldn’t cage Wenatchee Wild, lose playoff series in five games

The Langley Rivermen’s season came to an end Friday at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

There were moments over the past week where, for the Langley Rivermen, containing some of the Wenatchee Wild’s fleet-footed skaters was about as easy as grabbing a greased-up garter snake.

The Wild are moving on to the second round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs after defeating the Rivermen in five games in the teams’ best-of-seven, opening round series.

The final blow came Friday night at the George Preston Recreation Centre, where the Wild downed the Rivermen 3-1 to seal the series win.

“We definitely didn’t quit,” Rivermen winger Matthew Graham said. “A lot of games we came back and made it close, and they could have gone the other way, for sure. We showed a lot of resiliency. I’m proud of the guys for never quitting.”

The Rivermen suffered a major blow when, in game one of the series, they lost forward Justin Fregona, who finished tied with Graham as Langley’s top goal-getter during the regular season with 24 tallies each.

Fregona sprained an ankle on his first shift March 5 in Wenatchee.

“We didn’t have him all series,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said. “That hurts.”

Even with the early loss of Fregona, the Rivermen got off to a good start to the series, edging the Wild 4-3 at Wenatchee’s Toyota Town Centre.

After that the Wild went on to take four straight, including a wild 7-6 overtime win in game three March 8 at the GPRC followed by a 5-0 shutout of the Rivermen the very next night.

Wenatchee also needed overtime to win game two by a 4-3 count on March 6.

“It was really close,” Graham said. “It definitely didn’t feel like a 4-1 series. Those OT games could have gone either way. I think their speed and depth was really key for them. I don’t want to say they wore us down but they kept coming and maintaining and played a complete game. They were tough to play against.”

Henderson agreed with his leading scorer.

“They were pretty tight, all the games but one but I attribute that to the hangover you get from losing back-to-back OT games,” Henderson said. “That’s a tough pill to swallow.”

Friday at the GPRC, the Wild led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 after 40 minutes of play before Rivermen defenceman Cameron Ginnetti scored on a power play at the 10:11 mark of the third period to bring the home team to within one.

With about a minute-and-a-half to go in regulation, the Rivermen pulled goaltender Bo Didur from the net in favour of an extra attacker as they pushed for the tying goal to keep their season alive.

But in the final minute, the Wild’s Kyle Stephan, who terrorized the Rivermen all series (he scored the OT winner on March 8 and leads Wenatchee in playoff scoring with four goals and nine points), sidestepped a Langley defender and slid the puck from his own blueline into the yawning cage to seal the victory with 14 seconds to go in the game.

Henderson said he “couldn’t be more proud” of how his players showed resilience especially in game three where they overcame a 4-0 deficit in the first period to tie the game, only to lose 7-6 in overtime.

“A lot of teams would have folded their tent but we managed to take it to OT,” Henderson said. “It showed great character.”

Looking back at the season as a whole, Henderson said, “We had a relatively inexperienced group of guys and they stepped up in the second half and played some pretty good hockey.”

Graham, who is heading to Robert Morris in Moon, Pa., to play NCAA Div. 1 hockey  next season, said he’ll miss Langley.

“A lot of teams don’t make playoffs so I’m definitely glad we made the playoffs,” he said. “I really liked it here in Langley. I have great memories, great friends, and great teammates. I don’t regret anything.”

ICE CHIPS: The ’Men and Wild played games three, four, and five at the GPRC because the Rivermen’s usual home, the Langley Events Centre, was occupied by teams competing in the B.C. high school boys basketball championships.

Just Posted

Everett pulls ahead in Western Conference standings over Vancouver Giants

Langley-based hockey G-Men, who lost 6-5 to Everett Saturday, now prepares to take on Victoria.

Langley Rams downed by Saskatoon Hilltops at Canadian Bowl

Four-time Canadian Junior Football League champions built up an insurmountable lead

VIDEO: Crash on 88 Avenue in Langley

At least one car suffered extensive damage

Extreme weather alert issued by Langley shelter

Gateway of Hope offers homeless warm place to sleep

VIDEO: Autographs with Hockey Hall of Fame member, Marcel Dionne

Marcel Dionne, as well as other NHL greats, have arrived to the Langley Events Centre for the 2018 Legends Weekend

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

1 woman dead, man in hospital after ‘suspicious’ crash: police

Homicide investigators and Burnaby RCMP are investigating the fatal collision

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read