Langley Rivermen stung by Vipers, down struggling Eagles

The Langley Rivermen were snake bit Saturday at the Langley Events Centre.

Playing their fourth game in five nights, Langley’s junior A hockey team was blanked 4-0 by the visiting Vernon Vipers.

The Rivermen fell behind early, giving up two goals in less than five minutes in the first period. The Vipers would add another two in the third period and cruise to victory.

The Rivermen’s offence was nowhere to be found as they were outshot 47-24 and finished 0-7 on the power play.

This marks the first team this season that the Rivermen have been shut out.

Vernon went 2-7 with the man advantage, while goaltender Danny Todosychuk picked up his first shutout of the season.

Bo Didur made 32 saves for the Rivermen and Darren Martin came in midway through the third period and stopped all 11 shots he faced.

The Rivermen’s record is 12-9-1-3, and they sit alone in third place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division, two points back of the 14-10-0-2 Prince George Spruce Kings and three behind the frontrunning Chilliwack Chiefs (15-8-0-1). Coquitlam (9-13-1-4) and Surrey (3-17-0-3) round out the division.

Langley will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to South Surrey Arena to take on the Eagles.

The ’Men will once again be tested at home this Friday, when they host the best team in the BCHL, the Penticton Vees at the LEC, with a 7 p.m. opening puck drop.

The Vees have only suffered three regular season defeats this season and own an outstanding 22-3-0-1 record.

Rivermen 5, Surrey Eagles 2

Justin Szeto scored twice, including the game winner, and Marcus Vela had a three point night as the Rivermen downed the Surrey Eagles 5-2 at the LEC on Friday.

The Rivermen came out of the gates slow, giving up the game’s first goal as Surrey’s Chase McMurphy scored on the power play in the first period to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Langley answered with defenceman Jake Kearley deking out two defenders and scoring on a breakaway past Daniel Davidson.

Rivermen assistant coach Kurt Astle knew Langley was facing a desperate team.

“They took it to us to start,” Astle added. “Luckily Darren Martin made some big saves for us and we were fortunate to end the first period tied. In the second period we bought in and re-established our cycle game, finished our chances, and had some success.”

Martin made 26 saves as he picked up his first win since Sept. 28.

“It was about time,” he said. “It’s been almost two months, so it felt nice to just get out and play. I was nervous but I knew the boys would pull through and it was a big win for us.”

“That was big for him,” Astle said. “He’s been battling hard in practice and has been a good teammate. He had a few tough breaks with overtime losses earlier so it was nice to see him get a win.”

Vela’s goal and two assists give him 21 points on the season as the Rivermen move into second place in the Mainland Division with 28 points, one ahead of Chilliwack.

Dom Masellis also had a strong game, assisting twice and asserting his physical presence throughout the entire game.

The Eagles hung with the Rivermen throughout the first period and part of the second, before Langley scored four times in the final two periods.

“I thought we were pretty good,” Eagles head coach and general manager Blaine Neufeld said. “It was a tight game. In the end, they were hungrier and wanted to win and we didn’t capitalize on our chances.”

“We have six guys out of our lineup,” he continued. “We’re getting everything we can get out of our young guys. We’re giving it our best effort and if it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough.”

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