Sports

Goals hard to come by for struggling Rivermen

Langley Rivermen goaltender Jim Kruger grabs a loose puck during Friday
Langley Rivermen goaltender Jim Kruger grabs a loose puck during Friday's 2-1 loss to the Surrey Eagles at the South Surrey Arena.
— image credit: photo courtesy of Gord Goble

The Langley Rivermen are offensive right now, but just not in a good way.

Through five games in the BCHL hockey season, the junior A club has scored a grand total of six goals as they have stumbled out of the gate with a 1-4 record.

It was particularly tough this past weekend, as they fell 2-1 to the Surrey Eagles on Friday before losing back-to-back games to the Powell River Kings, 5-0 and 3-0.

All three games were on the road.

"We competed well all weekend but that being said, competing and not winning don't go hand-in-hand. That is a losing mentality," said Rivermen coach Steve O'Rourke.

Against the Eagles, Langley trailed 2-0 after surrendering a short-handed goal to Brandon Morley and a goal to Sean McGovern.

Derek Sutliffe scored late in the third, short-handed, to make it 2-1.

Langley outshot Surrey 38-28, including 15-5 in the third.

The Rivermen also squandered eight power play chances.

Versus the defending conference champions from Powell River, both games were 1-0 in the third before the Kings buried the Rivermen in the final 20 minutes.

Langley only had 15 shots on goal on Saturday and 19 on Sunday.

Jarryd Leung opened the scoring midway through the game on Saturday and the Kings struck for four goals in the third, including goals from Cohen Adair and Carter Shinkaruk nine seconds apart.

Steven Schmidt and Teagan Waugh had the others.

In Sunday's matinee, Luke Laszkiewicz got Powell River on the board in the second and then Waugh and Adair struck for third-period insurance markers.

Jim Kruger made 37 saves on Sunday, while Michael Barr got his first action of the season, stopping 31 shots in the middle game. Kruger made 26 saves in the loss to Surrey.

They did at least have some quality chances in the second game, something that was lacking the day before, O'Rourke said.

"We hung in there stride for stride with them, but at the end of the day, (Powell River) stuck to their game plan for 120 minutes and believed in it, and our young guys are learning the simple way is the best way to play," O'Rourke said.

"For us, it is learning not to be satisfied; that is the biggest crux of it all, we can't be satisfied just hanging in."

The Kings showed the young Rivermen squad what it takes to win, particularly when it comes to the pace of the game.

Langley will look to get back on track when they visit the Coquitlam Express on Friday before hosting the Kings at the Langley Events Centre on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.

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