Coming into the opening round of the 2019 Chevrolet BCHL Playoffs as major underdogs, the Rivermen have battled and found a way to take two wins in Chilliwack. The heavily-favored Chiefs, who also produced the best home record in the league this season, could not find a way to match the physicality of Langley. Now the Riv look to take command of the series as they head back to home ice for the next two games.
The series-opening game brought many highs and lows for both sides, but there was only one side that could finish on top. The Rivermen opened the scoring in the 1st with goals from Ethan Leyh and Tanner Versluis, but the Chiefs followed with three-straight goals of their own. Versluis managed to tie it up in the 2nd but Chilliwack’s Clark Nelson took the lead back for the home side shortly after. Heading into the 3rd period down by one, Langley threw all they had at the net but found it tough to beat goalie Daniel Chenard in the first half of the final frame. Keeping the pressure up, the Riv finally broke through with a goal from rookie Mark Gallant with just less than five minutes to play. With the game tied and under two minutes left in the period, Leyh fired a shot in front of the net from the corner and banked it of a Chilliwack defenders skate into the back of the net to secure the 5-4 victory. Langley goaltender Braedon Fleming finished with 37 saves in the win.
With all of the excitement that came from the night before, Game 2 proved to be equally as entertaining from both teams. Chilliwack’s Skyler Brind’Amour opened the scoring in the 1st. Jake Livingstone and Gallant followed up their own tallies to put the Riv ahead in the opening frame. Brett Willits managed to tie it up for the Chiefs in the 2nd. After that it was a goaltenders duel as Fleming and Chenard each stood tall to force the game into overtime. After a back and forth overtime sent it into double OT, Langley finally put the dagger into the Chiefs. Chipping in front of the net, the puck managed to reach captain Alec Capstick’s stick at the point. He sent it over to Colten Kovich, who in turn passed it to Daneel Lategan on the side, and centered it to an open Gallant for the one-timed marker. Fleming once again proved to be the unsung hero, making 52 saves in the 3-2 victory.
Up two games to zero in the best-of-seven series, Langley now returns home to the Lodge for the next two games with a chance to take complete control of the top-seeded Chiefs. Game 3 will occur on Monday, March 4th at 7:15pm at George Preston Arena. On Tuesday, March 5th they will once again battle it out for Game 4 at the same place and time.
Tickets for home games can be purchased at the George Preston Recreation Centre “The Lodge” box office 45 minutes before puck drop and by calling 604-229-2352 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.