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Weekend preview: Riv travel to the island

After opening up the month of November with back to back wins, the Riv have dropped three straight games for the first time all year. Playing ahead has been a struggle during this current skid, as the team has only played with a lead for a total of 3:15, which came in the last loss to Coquitlam 7-5 on Wednesday.

“We have shown some inconsistency these past three games and hope to turn that aspect around. We have had guys step up and score big goals at times, but we haven’t been able to follow it up. We need to be more engaged throughout the game and trust one another. This weekend will be a challenge to our group,” said Rivermen Associate Head Coach and Assistant General Manager Kurt Astle.

The team will take a break from games at the Langley Events Centre and head out on a ‘3 in 3’ island road trip this weekend. It marks the first of two total trips to play island division opponents this regular season.

The Riv enter tonight third place in the Mainland Division with a 12-9-0-0 record for 24 points. Away from home this season, they are 4-4-0-0.

Friday, November 13 @ Powell River Kings, 7:15pm- Hap Parker Arena

Tonight’s game is the first meeting of the season between the Riv and Kings. Powell River is hovering just over the .500 mark with an 11-10-0-0 record for 22 points. After starting the season on fire with an 8-2 record at the 10 game mark, the Kings have crashed down to earth with just one win in their last eight games. Hap Parker Arena is always a tough building for opponents to get victories in, and the Rivermen know that first hand. As a franchise, the Riv have yet to win there with a 0-6 record and have been outscored 29-4.

“Powell River is always a tough trip, but it is a good chance to bond as a team. They play so well in that building and with them going through a tough stretch right now, we know they are going to give us their best,” Astle said.

The Kings are led by a pair of 20 year-olds. Forward Nick Halagian is the lone skater averaging a point per game with 18 points (4 goals, 14 assists) in 18 games. Goaltender Jeff Smith is having a solid season with a 9-7-0 record to go along with a 2.42 GAA and a .927 save percentage.

Saturday, November 14 @ Nanaimo Clippers, 6:00pm- Frank Crane Arena

The Rivermen and Clippers enter the weekend with similar records. As of Friday, November 12th, the Clippers are 12-9-0-1 through 22 games and sit tied for first place in the Island Division with Cowichan Valley. The Clippers have been struggling to string together wins after winning four in a row from Oct. 18-30. Since then, they have one win in their last five games, which happened to come earlier this week on Tuesday against Alberni Valley.

Nanaimo boasts some of the top offensive weapons in their line-up with two players in the top five in league scoring. Sheldon Rempal is tied for first in overall points with 43 (19 goals and 24 assists) in 22 games and leads the BCHL in goal scoring. Devin Brosseau is fourth in BCHL scoring with 30 points (11 goals and 19 assists) in 22 games.

The Riv will look to stay out of the box, as Nanaimo has the third best power play in the league operating at a 23.62 clip. The trio of Matthew Hoover (8), Rempal (7), and Brosseau (6) have combined for a total of 21 goals on the man advantage.


Sunday, November 15 @ Alberni Valley Bulldogs, 2:00pm- Weyerhaeuser Arena

The Bulldogs won the first meeting 4-1 back on October 24th at the Langley Events Centre. Since then, they are 3-3 in their last six games and overall have a record of 8-10-1-1 for 18 points in 20 games. The Riv will be playing their third game in three days (with travel), while the ‘Dogs will be rested after having Saturday night off. The dog pound has one of the best atmospheres in the BCHL and is always a tough place for visitors to play in. So far, the Bulldogs are 6-3-0-1 in their home rink.

Scoring goals has been difficult for the Bulldogs this year. Entering the weekend, they are second to last in goal scoring with 51 in 20 games. Josh Adkins continues to lead the team in scoring with 18 points (8 goals and 10 assists) in 20 games. Rookie goaltender Carson Schamerhorn is having a stellar year in goal with a 5-2-1 record, along with a 2.67 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

All games can be seen live on www.fasthockey.com. Alex Rawnsley (Powell River commentator) will have the call tonight, Dan Marshall (Nanaimo Clippers commentator) on Saturday, and Evan the Hammer (Alberni Valley commentator) will be the play caller for the finale on Sunday.

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