After their three-games-in-three-days stretch started out with a bang, the Langley Rivermen now find themselves looking to snap a two-game losing skid on Remembrance Day.
The Rivermen throttled the Surrey Eagles 10-4 on Nov. 5 at the Langley Events Centre and followed that blowout win with a pair of losses: 4-2 to the host Chilliwack Chiefs on Friday at Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre and 3-2 to the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the LEC on Saturday.
The Rivermen now go into Wednesday afternoon’s game versus Coquitlam at the LEC with a 12-8 record.
The local junior As sit third in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division, three points back of Chilliwack and five back of the first-place Wenatchee Wild.
While generally happy with his team’s play over the weekend, Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said his shooters weren’t able to bury their chances against Chilliwack and Salmon Arm.
“We played pretty well all the way across the board,” Henderson said. “The Surrey game was one-sided and against Chilliwack the next night, we carried the majority of the zone time, but we couldn’t get a puck behind [Chiefs goalie Aidan Pelino]. Against Salmon Arm, we got down early but did a good job of battling back, and we had plenty of chances [to tie the score] but we just couldn’t get one in.”
Salmon Arm 3, Rivermen 2
The Rivermen couldn’t keep up to Silverbacks forward Chase Zieky Saturday at the LEC.
Zieky scored all three of his team’s goals, including the game winner that snapped a 2-2 tie at the 8:09 mark of the third period, as the Silverbacks edged the Rivermen 3-2.
A power play goal from Matthew Graham and an unassisted goal from Torrin White 7:07 into the final frame, tying the game at 2-2, scored for the Rivermen.
Zieky’s winner came 42 seconds after White tied the game.
The goal came against the run of the play. After a slow start, the Rivermen outshot the Silverbacks 16-4 in the final 20 minutes of play.
Chilliwack Chiefs 4, Rivermen 2
Rookie Kale Kane’s second of the night, scored at the 10:41 mark of the second period, snapped a 2-2 and proved to be the winner as the Chiefs doubled the Rivermen at Prospera Centre.
Kane’s goal was a backbreaker – it came just seven seconds after Langley forward Dominic Franco tied the game at 2-2.
Chiliwack’s Kohen Olischefski gave the Chiefs insurance when he made it 4-2 with 2:22 to go in regulation.
Justin Fregona scored the lone Langley goal in the opening period as the Chiefs entered the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.
The Rivermen outshot the Chiefs 32-20 but Pelino was sharp in making 30 saves. He was named second star of the game.
Kane’s first of the night came on an opening-period penalty shot.
Awarded just 1:06 after Fregona’s goal, the penalty-shot marker put the Chiefs ahead 2-1.
“Our start wasn’t what it needed to be against one of top teams in the league,” Henderson said. “Their first goal went off a d-man and they scored on a penalty shot for their second goal. To spot a team like that two goals, it’s tough to come back on them.”
Rivermen 10, Surrey Eagles 4
The Eagles’ miserable season was made all the more miserable Thursday, when the Rivermen hit double figures in scoring.
Zachary Bleuler (two goals, two assists), Graham (two goals, one assist), Franco (a pair of goals), Logan Mick (one goal, two assists), Justin Szeto (three assists), and Fregona (one goal, one assist) had multiple point games for the Rivermen.
In fact, all but four Langley skaters made a mark on the scoresheet.
Matty Saharchuk and Max Kaufman also scored for the ’Men, who led 4-1 after the first period and 7-3 after 40 minutes of play.
Losers of seven straight, the Eagles occupy the Mainland Division basement with a 4-17 record.
The Rivermen play on Remembrance Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. when they host the Coquitlam Express at the LEC.
Moving forward, Henderson said for the Rivermen to continue to hang with teams like Chilliwack and Wenatchee, they have to clean up their mistakes.
“We’ve got to choke the freebies out of our game,” Henderson said. “We’ve got youth in our lineup and it’s a learning process, but we’re 15 games in, here, and we should not be having these mistakes happen.”