Langley Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson was excited about his team’s prospects heading into the B.C. Hockey League season.
Eight games into the campaign, junior A hockey fans are starting to see why.
Three wins last weekend – including a sweep of the Chilliwack Chiefs in their home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday, followed by a victory over the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals on Sunday afternoon – puts the Rivermen at the top of the BCHL’s Mainland Division standings with a 6-2 record.
The Rivermen opened with a 6-4 win over the Chiefs Friday at the Langley Events Centre.
Then on Saturday, the Rivermen edged the Chiefs 3-2 in double overtime, with newly acquired Matty Saharchuk scoring the winner 4:13 into the three-on-three, second extra frame.
Considering it was their third game in as many days, and an afternoon contest to boot, the Rivermen’s 4-2 win over the Capitals on Sunday was arguably their most impressive of the weekend.
Going into the 3 p.m. game at the LEC, both teams were yet to lose on the weekend and both were playing their third game in three days.
After a scoreless opening period, the Rivermen got on the board 8:27 into the middle frame when Matthew Graham slapped a one-timer past Cowichan goaltender Storm Phaneuf, off a beautiful cross-ice feed from Ben Butcher.
Scoring-wise, fireworks erupted in the final period.
Before the period was four minutes old, Saharchuk notched his second goal in as many days to extend Langley’s lead to 2-0.
The Capitals’ Patrick Geary responded on a powerplay at the 8:37 mark to narrow his team’s deficit to 2-1.
Just over a minute later, Aiden Macdonald evened up the score for the Caps on another Cowichan power play opportunity.
But with overtime looming, Langley’s Justin Szeto scored on a rebound with five seconds left in regulation.
After Justin Fregona put the puck on net, Szeto pounced on the loose biscuit for his fifth goal of the season.
Butcher capped the scoring into an empty net with one second left.
Rivermen goaltender Nick Trenciansky stopped 26 of 28 shots on the night and earned his third win of the weekend.
ICE CHIPS: The Rivermen will try to keep their momentum going this Friday, Oct. 9, when they host the Mainland’s second place team, Washington’s Wenatchee Wild at the LEC.
Opening puck drop is 7:15 p.m.
Two days later, on Sunday, afternoon, Oct. 11, the Chiefs return to the LEC to play the Rivermen.
Game time is 3 p.m.