The Langley Rivermen got their game back on track last weekend at the Langley Events Centre. After picking up back to back wins over Coquitlam and Surrey, the team is feeling much more confident heading into a busy week with three games in three days on the horizon. Prior to the two victories, the Riv struggled to find consistency in their game, but managed to stick to the game plan and put together a full 60 minutes in each of the last two wins.
“I thought our guys played a solid game top to bottom. Starting in net and working our way out to the defense and forwards, everybody was on the same page. We were very focused and determined and was very happy with the overall effort,” said Rivermen Head Coach and General Manager Bobby Henderson.
The month of November is a busy one for the Riv. Beginning Thursday, they will play a total of 12 games, with eight of them being held at the Langley Events Centre. A solid dose of home cooking is something Coach Henderson is really hoping his team can take advantage of.
“I don’t think we have really asserted ourselves at home yet so to speak this year. We still have a winning record, but we definitely want to boost the winning percentage at the LEC this month. Typically in the past, we have played well here and have had some fairly dominant home records,” Henderson continued.
The line of Justin Fregona, Matty Saharchuk, and Matthew Graham were dominant in last weekend’s games. They were able to combine for a total of 13 points, and is a trio that could prove to be a handful to defense corps around the league.
“I think we are a line that has a lot of skill. Both Matt and Justin are great players and are easy to play with, and so far we have found some pretty good chemistry between the three of us,” said Saharchuk, who had three goals last weekend.
On Tuesday, the Rivermen shook things up and made a couple of deals with two Interior Division squads. Veteran forward Ben Butcher was traded to Vernon for rookie defenseman Austin Cho, while d-man Domenic Masellis was dealt to Penticton for future considerations. Cho will wear #16 with the team and is expected to make his Rivermen debut on Thursday night against Surrey.
“Austin is a guy that has been on our radar since his St. Andrews College days. He is a very highly touted player that will bring a lot to our lineup. He is a bigger body that moves the puck well and will really help stabilize the back-end for us,” said Henderson about his newest addition.
The Rivermen enter the week in third place in the Mainland Division with an 11-6-0-0 record for 22 points. They sit just one point back of Chilliwack (who they will face on Friday), and three behind first place Wenatchee, with two games in hand on them.
Thursday, November 5 vs. Surrey Eagles- 7:15pm @ Langley Events Centre
The Riv knocked off the Eagles three days ago by a score of 5-2 at the LEC. The season series now favours Langley at 2-1-0-0 through the first three games. Surrey remains in sixth place in the Mainland Division at 4-14-0-0 for eight points. It has been a struggle for them in particularly on the road with just one win in eight tries, but the good news for them is they begin a six game home stand this Friday night.
Newly acquired goaltender Forbes Ploszaj played well in his first start for the ‘Birds on Sunday, stopping 32 of 37 shots the Riv put his way. Forward Ty Westgard is having a great freshman campaign thus far, as he leads all 17 year old rookies in assists with 14. Despite their tough start after two months, Coach Henderson thinks they are a better team than their record shows.
“They have played us hard in every game over the last few years and this season has been no different. We have a pretty good rivalry going with them and they seem to always get up to play us, so we will have to be at our best to beat them,” finished Bobby Henderson.