The Langley Rivermen finished the pre-season undefeated, beating the Powell River Kings 9-7 at the Langley Events Centre on Sunday.
Both teams showcased their offensive talents as well their physicality. The game saw countless penalties, fights and ejections.
â€œMentally, we have to be sharper,â€ Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said. â€œI figured the compete level would be high. I donâ€™t think anybody on either team wanted to get ejected. They were trying to make impressions, so Iâ€™m not really surprised by it.â€
â€œIt was a little bit disappointing,â€ Kings head coach Kent Lewis said. â€œThe games to be played a certain way and our teamsâ€™ always played with some edge, but it was a little stupid today.â€
The Rivermen were led by forward Erik Udahl, who scored two goals.
â€œErik gets better every game and is someone that creates a lot of chances,â€ Henderson said. â€œ[Will] Campion showed some good signs. Weâ€™ll have to make decisions that make the most sense for the team.â€
Henderson and the rest of the Rivermen coaching staff will finalize the roster later this week and narrow it down to the league maximum, 22 players, by Friday.
After Bo Didur got the start in net against Surrey in Fridayâ€™s 3-1 victory.
Darren Martin was between the pipes for the Rivermen Sunday afternoon, giving up seven goals on 34 shots.
â€œBo was really sharp on Friday,â€ said Henderson. â€œDarren got strung out a bit, based on the style of the game. He got rattled early and wouldâ€™ve liked to have a couple goals back. He ended up bearing down, finishing the game and got it done. Thereâ€™s a lot more to his game than what he showed tonight.â€
Powell River was led by second year forward Jarid Lukosevicius, who scored twice in the defeat. Lukosevicius led the Kings in scoring last season.
â€œWe know Jaridâ€™s going to contribute every game,â€ Lewis said. â€œWeâ€™ve had some new guys come in that have done really well. Carter Turnbull and Ryan Pouliot have had very good exhibition series. You can practice, have camp but when the puck drops and thereâ€™s officials and a jersey of a different colour on the other side, things change. Guys will either rise up or drop.â€
Despite his team going 4-0 in the pre-season, Henderson is not reading too much into it.
â€œI donâ€™t think we saw the best out of any of the teams,â€ he said. â€œPowell Riverâ€™s a team [which is] competitive because of their coaching, so theyâ€™ll get better each game. Surrey and Coquitlam, once they get their rosters in place, will be tough. Top to bottom, thereâ€™s no sleepers in this league. Any given night, any team can beat anybody.â€
The Rivermen begin the regular season this Friday when they play Salmon Arm at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, as part of the Bauer BCHL Showcase.
Langley will play their first four games away from home before hosting Nanaimo on Oct. 4 at the Langley Events Centre.
For details visit langleyrivermen.com.