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Weekend preview: Mainland rivalries renewed at LEC

The Rivermen continue their four game home stand this weekend at the Langley Events Centre. After beginning the month of October with four straight wins, the team will be looking for more consistency having just two wins in their last six contests.

The ‘Riv currently sit third place in the Mainland Division with a 9-6-0-0 record for 18 points, and are three points back of Chilliwack for second, and five back of first place Wenatchee (Rivermen have two games in hand on both).The team will be seeing a healthy dose of mainland opponents, with the next four match-ups coming from within the division.

The power play has been a focus point for the coaching staff of late. The team has scored just one time on the man advantage in the past five games, and overall this season is operating at a 16.05% clip.

“Our power play has generated some good looks, but not on a consistent basis. We have ran different options, and has looked good at times, but we have lacked execution on our chances. We expect to create chances and gain momentum off the power play. Our main focus has been to simplify our approach. We have to work harder for our chances and find ways to get more shots to the net along with traffic,” said Rivermen Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Kurt Astle.

Friday (Oct. 30, 7:15pm) vs. Coquitlam Express

The Rivermen and Express met for the first time this season eight days ago in Coquitlam. The Rivermen came away with a big 6-2 win and was a game that featured six first period goals scored between the teams.

“I walked into the locker room after that period and thought to myself what a crazy 20 minutes that was. We were down 2-0 at one point, and all of a sudden we were winning 4-2 by the end of it,” said Rivermen forward Max Kaufman who finished that game with four points.

Coquitlam played host to Prince George for a pair of games last weekend and split the series with the Spruce Kings. Coming into the LEC, they are just a point behind the Rivermen for third place and currently support a record of 7-7-1-2 for 17 points in 17 games this year.

Captain Jackson Cressey continues to have a fantastic season with 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 17 games, which puts him fourth in league scoring.


Sunday (Nov 1, 3:00pm) vs. Surrey Eagles

A new month of hockey begins for the Rivermen when the puck drops on Sunday afternoon. The Riv still have a sour taste in their mouths after Surrey beat them by a score of 3-1 nine days ago at South Surrey Arena. Since that win, the Eagles have lost three games in a row, including two against the Wenatchee Wild last weekend. Coming into this week, the Eagles are last place in the Mainland Division with a 4-12-0-0 record for eight points.

18 year-old John Wesley leads the ‘Birds attack and is averaging a point per game with 14 (7 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games. In goal, the Rivermen may see Forbes Ploszaj, who was acquired from the West Kelowna Warriors on Thursday. This season, he has posted a record of 5-2-0 to go along with a 2.70 GAA and a .899 save percentage. Ploszaj has faced the ‘Men once already this year, when he backstopped the Warriors to a 4-1 win at the BCHL Showcase on September 27th.

“That loss to them last week still does not sit well with me. We just didn’t play up to our capabilities for whatever reason in that game. We are going to prepare for them just like anyone else, and I am confident we are going to come out with a much better effort against them on Sunday,” finished Kaufman.

Fans can stick around following the game, as it is another ‘Skate with the Rivermen’ promotion.

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