Langley Rivermen settle for split with rival Express

With a 4-3 loss Saturday at the Langley Events Centre, the Langley Rivermen fell a couple goals short in their bid to sweep the Coquitlam Express.

And with it, a chance to leapfrog into top spot in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division.

The Rivermen’s record dropped to 20-14-1-4 with the loss while, by avoiding the sweep, the Express improved to 15-18-1-4.

Langley was unable to catch up after giving up two goals in the first period.

Coquitlam’s Brett Supinski opened the scoring 4:32 into the game when he beat Rivermen goaltender Darren Martin for his 26th goal of the season.

Then, with a little more than three minutes to play in the frame, Coquitlam made it 2-0 thanks to Brendan Lamont, who scored his 14th of the campaign.

The Rivermen cut the lead in half when Hunter Anderson scored the lone goal of the period midway through to make it 2-1. Charlie Pelnik and

Cole Williams assisted on Anderson’s eighth of the season.

The third period saw both teams trade a pair of goals, including Langley’s Gage Torrel’s team-leading 19th goal, which narrowed the Express lead to 3-2.

Shortly after that, Express forward Corey Mackin netted his BCHL-leading 37th goal and 65th point on a shorthanded breakaway, all but sealing the deal for the Express.

Rivermen captain Kevan Kilistoff scored late but the hosts ran out of time to score the equalizer.

Making his second start in as many days, Martin made 23 saves in a losing effort.

Express goaltender Chris Tai also made back-to-back starts and performed better on Saturday.

After allowing six goals on Friday, he made 36 saves to pick up his 11th win of the season.

The Rivermen resume their busy stretch next weekend with three games in three days, all against the Chilliwack Chiefs, beginning Friday at the LEC.

Opening puck drop is 7 p.m.

The teams meet again Saturday at Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre before resuming acquaintances Sunday at 2 p.m. at the LEC.

The Rivermen sit a point back of the Chiefs (22-12-1-1 for 46 points) in the Mainland standings.

Rivermen 6, Express 1

Despite not playing in almost two weeks, the Rivermen showed no signs of rust Friday at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre as they dominated the host Express 6-1.

Erik Udahl was named first star of the game after he potted a pair of goals, while Torrel and Evan Anderson picked up where they left off before the break as both forwards scored three points.

Torrel scored twice for the visitors.

Justin Szeto opened up the scoring for Langley, getting his ninth goal of the season after firing the puck past Tai.

Torrel scored minutes after that to make it 2-0 with what would wind up being the game winner.

Meanwhile, Mackin scored the lone Express goal.

Langley’s defence played one of its best games of the season, holding a high-powered Coquitlam offence to one goal while Martin stopped 31 shots to pick up his seventh win of the campaign.

Rivermen defencemen Jordan Schneider and Will Campion had solid nights at both ends of the rink.

Schneider had three helpers and Campion assisted once, returning to the lineup after missing most of December with an upper body injury.

Special teams also went in the favour of the Rivermen, who finished two-for-three on the man advantage and killed off all four penalties in the victory.

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