It’s a ‘three in three’ weekend for the Langley Rivermen beginning on Friday night. Five games into the BCHL season, the ‘Riv sit tied for third in the Mainland Division with a 3-2-0-0 record and six points. In the last four games, they have alternated wins and losses, and this weekend hope to begin a new month stringing together some wins.
“Overall I have been pretty happy with how we have played so far. Going back to last week at the showcase, I thought we had a heck of a game Thursday (vs. Salmon Arm), but on Sunday (vs. West Kelowna) we didn’t have our “A” game and took us a while to get going,” said Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager Bobby Henderson.
The fourth year bench boss has liked many aspects of his team’s game, but there are a few areas in particular that he would like to see improvement in.
“We have to cut down on the number of turnovers. That is an area in our game that we can clean up quite easily. We also have to capitalize on our opportunities. We have had some great looks at the net but couldn’t score and at times it can be deflating to the group.”
Through a handful of games, the scoring has been spread-out through the line-up. Matthew Graham leads the team in scoring with six points (2 goals, 4 assists), and five players in total (Graham, Fregona, Butcher, Szeto, Campion) are producing at a point per game clip.
Friday (Oct. 2, 7:15pm) vs. Chilliwack Chiefs & Saturday (Oct. 3, 7:00pm) @ Chilliwack Chiefs
The Rivermen and Chiefs will be seeing a lot of each other with three head to head matchups scheduled in a span of ten days. The Chiefs are currently second in the Mainland Division with a 3-2-1-1 record for eight points, but have played two more games than Langley. In 2014-15, the season series between the two division foes was very close, with the Rivermen having a 4-3-1 record against the Chiefs in eight games.
The Chiefs have just five returning players from last year’s Mainland Division winning squad. They are currently led by two players committed to Providence College next year, in Vimal Sukumaran (10 points in 7 games) and Jordan Kawaguchi (7 points in 7 games). One of their five returnees is goaltender Aidan Pelino who has a record of 2-1 and a .919 save percentage to go along with a 2.77 GAA in five appearances.
“I think there will be a bit of a feeling out process to start between us. We haven’t seen them yet this year and both teams have fairly new groups, but after a period or two I expect things to pick up,” said Henderson.
Sunday (Oct. 4, 3:00pm) vs. Cowichan Valley Capitals
Sunday afternoon may be a survival of the fittest, as both teams will be playing their third game in less than three nights. Out of the two teams, Cowichan has the more rigorous weekend schedule. They begin their road trip Friday night in Prince George, and immediately following the game, will be forced to travel overnight in order to make their face-off in Coquitlam on Saturday.
Cowichan is off to a strong start early on in their BCHL season, with a record of 3-1-0-1 for seven points that puts them second in the Island Division. They look to be a contender this season, as they have a total of 12 returning players from last year’s team. The roster includes Captain Adam Osczevski, who leads the team in scoring with six points (4 goals, 2 assists) and took home BCHL player of the week honours in the first week of the season.
“They are coming in with a veteran group and are built to play these three in three weekends. They have some big bodies on that team and are going to be tough to play against. For us, it will be our first time playing three games in a weekend and should be a good test for our guys,” finished Henderson.