Langley Rivermen rolling into Christmas

The Langley Rivermen are piling up wins, of late.

Langley’s junior A hockey team made it a season high four straight wins as the ’Men defeated Surrey for the third time in six days, edging the Eagles 6-5 at South Surrey Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Ben Butcher picked up where he left off – after a three-point night on Saturday, the forward scored twice on Sunday, giving him eight goals on the season. Erik Udahl and Justin Szeto showed no signs of slowing down as both rookies also picked up two points.

After a penalty-filled game on Saturday where there were more than 70 minutes of penalties called, Sunday’s contest was a lot calmer with only 12 penalty minutes called.

Langley trailed 4-3 early in the third period before answering with three straight markers which would prove to be the difference.

Another Rivermen player with a big game was Gage Torrel, who scored once and picked up a helper to tie him with captain Kevan Kilistoff atop the team’s point lead with 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists).

Kilistoff scored his team-leading 15th of the season, beating Eagles netminder Daniel Davidson late in the first period.

Rivermen goaltender Darren Martin evened his record to 6-6-1-0, as the Rivermen outscored Surrey 12-7 in the back-to-back games.

With 41 points, the Rivermen (18-11-1-4) are now four points ahead of Prince George for second place in the Mainland Division.

Rivermen 6, Surrey Eagles 2

In a chippy affair, the Rivermen downed the Eagles Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Hunter Anderson and Jake Kearley scored and added an assist.

Butcher chipped in with a Gordie Howe hat trick, scoring a goal and two helpers to go along with a fight, in a game that saw 79 total penalty minutes.

“It was nice to the see the guys get off to a good start,” Rivermen assistant coach Kurt Astle said. “It was a solid game from us top to bottom.”

“We know they’re not the best team but we just had to keep it simple and get the win,” Kearley said.

It didn’t take long for the diapers to come onto the ice as Kearley scored 38 seconds into the game to make it 1-0 Langley.

Fans threw hundreds of diaper bags onto the ice which were collected and will be donated to Basics for Babies.

The Eagles tied the game on the power play midway through the period before the Rivermen put two more goals past Eagles goaltender Christian Short as Udahl and Kilistoff extended the Rivermen’s lead to 3-1 after 20 minutes.

The game was penalty filled as both goaltenders were run over.

Torrel ran into Christian Short and picked up a goaltender interference penalty while Eagles forward Sam Chatterley was ejected after plowing into Rivermen goaltender Bo Didur.

“Things got a little heated for sure,” Astle said. “It’s important for us to stick up for each other but we also have to keep our composure.”

The third period saw goals from Evan Anderson, Butcher and one from Surrey forward Darius Davidson.

Didur stopped 29 shots to pick up his 12th win of the season.

The victory improved the Rivermen’s home record to 10-4-1-1.

Rivermen 3, Cowichan Valley Capitals 2

The Rivermen opened their three-games-in-three-days stretch by clipping the Capitals Friday at the LEC.

Colton Kehler scored the game winner against his former club as the Rivermen came from behind to win for the third straight game.

Kehler scored midway through the second period while Szeto continued his hot streak, scoring his fourth goal in as many games.

“Not the start we wanted again,” Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson said. “We defended hard and made good decisions with the puck. It was nice to not have to go to overtime.”

“It was a good team win,” Rivermen forward Hunter Anderson said. “We got off to a slow start but figured it out and we got momentum with the goal late in the first and then right away in the second and locked it down in the third.”

The Capitals were up 2-0 in the first period before Szeto beat Matthew Zentner high on the blocker side with four seconds left in the first to cut the deficit to one heading into the second period.

Twenty-one seconds into the frame, Kearley finished off a nice saucer pass from Udahl to tie the game.

At the 9:25 mark, Kehler scored his seventh of the season when the former Capital put home a loose puck from Szeto and Kilistoff, which proved to be the game winner.

“As coaches we’re challenging them to rise to the situation,” Henderson said. “With our group the leaders are starting to feel more comfortable at being leaders; they’re talking guys through it. The younger guys are getting the job done and having a major impact on the game.”

“We’re growing as a team, even the young guys,” Anderson said. “Everyone’s pitching in and doing well lately. Everyone’s having a lot more fun.”

The Capitals were unable to find their offence after the first period as the visitors only managed five shots in the third period.

“It was a tighter checking game than last weekend,” Capitals head coach Bob Beatty said. “They kept a little closer attention to the guys that are putting the puck in the net for us. Our top line was checked fairly tight. We did get some opportunities but weren’t able to capitalize. It’s a tough way to drop an opportunity blowing a two goal lead with three seconds left in the first period. That was the difference.”

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