Tonight will be the second meeting of seven on the season between the Rivermen and Spruce Kings. They last met on September 19 at the Langley Events Centre with the Riv coming away with a 5-0 victory. Coming into this evening, Langley has been playing much better having won their last three games. Before this current three-game streak, the squad was mired in a five game losing skid, but Coach Booby Henderson did not lose faith in his group.
“It was just small things that were not really going our way,” said Henderson about the losing streak, “we played some good hockey in flashes throughout that stretch, but there were some defensive mistakes that cost us and did not play a full 60 minutes.”
With back to back 4-2 wins over Penticton and Trail last weekend at the LEC, the team seems to have found their groove again. There was one main constant that helped the Riv be successful against the two Interior opponents in Coach Henderson’s opinion,
“I think our attention to defense was key for us last week. I thought we truly competed throughout those two games and were physical, hard on pucks, we cleared our zone well, and overall had good awareness out there.”
With the team almost at the halfway point of the season, through 26 games the Rivermen have a record of 15-11-0-0 for 30 points and sit third in the Mainland Division. There has been plenty of “ups and downs” during the course of the season thus far, but overall Henderson has been happy with what he has seen,
“I think we have succeeded expectations so far. We turned over a lot of guys from last year, which many teams go through, but we have said all along that we will be a team that continues to get better over the course of the year. For whatever reason we got off to a really hot start and cooled off a bit there, but I think we are starting to see what we expect from this group right now.”
The Spruce Kings have struggled stringing together wins consistently this season. Through 28 games they are 7-19-0-2 and are fifth in the Mainland. The month of November has not been too kind for PG with a 2-7-0-1 record, however most of their time has been spent on the road this month with seven of their last 10 taking place away from the Prince George Coliseum. In fact, from November 6-15 they played six straight road games. Tonight will be their second game of a three-game Mainland road swing. They were in Chilliwack last night and took a 4-0 defeat.
“It is going to be a tough game against them, it always is against PG. They have started to play some better hockey of late and are going to come at us hard and we have to be prepared,” said Henderson.
The Spruce Kings are led by 20 year-old defenseman Adam Brubacher who leads the team in scoring with 9 goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 28 games. Those numbers put him third in scoring among blue-liners in the BCHL. In goal. Liam McCloskey and Sam Tanguay have pretty much split the workload this season. McCloskey has appeared in 16 games, while Tanguay has seen 15 contests, however McCloskey has started the last three games.
Puck drop is at 7:15pm at the Langley Events Centre.