Langley Rivermen rookie leads charge in big win over Eagles

Rookie Erik Udahl scored a hat trick and Ben Butcher assisted twice as the Langley Rivermen came from behind to defeat the Surrey Eagles 7-4 in B.C. Hockey League action Tuesday at the Langley Events Centre.

The Rivermen got off to a slow start, giving up the game’s first two goals less than eight minutes into the game.

Langley answered back thanks to a pair of first period goals from Udahl as the hosts trailed 3-2 after the first period.

“These games can get away from you,” Udahl said. “It’s difficult to rise to the situation because sometimes you just think you’re going to win. The goals just came to me and I was lucky enough to put them in the back of the net.”

“I thought we responded well after getting down early,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said. “There was a couple goals that we’d like to have back but I thought the guys competed hard. The tank was a little bit empty from the weekend – the rest will be good for these guys.”

The Rivermen capitalized on Surrey’s penalty trouble as the Rivermen went to the man advantage nine times and scored twice, both in the second period. Kevan Kilistoff scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season and Udahl completed his hat trick with a power play marker, which ended up being the game winner.

“There was a definitely a weight taken off my back,” Udahl said. “I was one of the only guys who hadn’t scored. It’s kind of tough to keep your confidence up that way and it’s nice to have the confidence now.”

“After they got the first two [goals], we got down a little bit,” said Rivermen defenceman Dom Masellis, who scored a goal in the win. “Bobby got us fired up. He knew what we had to do to get back in the game and he let us know after the first intermission. We got back to it and got the win.”

The Eagles, who snapped a 16 game losing streak over the weekend, scored the first goal against the Rivermen for the third straight time, but were unable to hang on.

“The first period was very good,” Eagles head coach and general manager Blaine Neufeld said. “I thought it was a little bit of a lack of focus when we gave up the two goal lead at the end of the first. We fell asleep in the second period. Langley’s a good team and they’re ready to pounce when you give them the opportunity.”

Langley goalie Darren Martin started his third straight game in the absence of Bo Didur, who remains at the World Junior ‘A’ Hockey Challenge Team Canada West selection camp. Martin stopped 21 shots to pick up his fifth win of the season.

The Rivermen will rest until Friday when they host the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the LEC.

The next night, Langley hosts the Eagles on Basics for Babies night. Fans are encouraged to bring an unopened diaper and receive two-for-one entry. When the Rivermen score their first goal of the game, fans will toss the diapers on the ice. All diapers and donations will go to Basics for Babies.

Both Friday’s and Saturday’s games have 7 p.m. start times and tickets are available at the door or at by clicking here.

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