Sports

Rivermen find their offence

Langley Rivermen
Langley Rivermen's Jackson Playfair (right) knocks over Victoria Grizzlies' Nolan De Jong during Friday night's BCHL game at the Langley Events Centre.
— image credit: Garrett James

After scoring just 15 times in their first eight games, the Langley Rivermen broke out in a big way Saturday night.

The junior A hockey club pumped in a season-high seven goals in a 7-1 rout of the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the Langley Events Centre.

The victory came on the heels of a 5-1 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies, also at the LEC.

The offensive explosion comes as a welcome relief.

"It is good that little black thing got in the back of the net for us a few times," admitted coach Steve O'Rourke.

"Getting the seven (goals) starts putting a little bit more relief in the back of your mind.

"We are doing things better and better each time we are on the ice, in practice and in games.It is a process, it is going to take time."

Even with that offensive outburst, the Rivermen are last in the Coastal Conference in scoring with just 2.44 goals per game. Langley is a full goal behind their nearest competitor.

Part of the problem has been playing a glut of good goaltenders: six of Langley's in games have been against either Powell River of Surrey, the top two teams in the conference.

"When you are facing good goaltenders, it is going to be difficult," O'Rourke said. "And that is what Powell River and Surrey have.

"At times, we double clutched or hit (the goalies) right in the chest."

Even the games this past weekend are misleading.

The scoreboard read 5-1 for Victoria, but the game was closer than that.

"It's funny how the game goes, we only gave up 10 chances and they scored on five of them," O'Rourke said.

In that game, Langley held Victoria to less than 30 shots despite surrendering 11 power-plays, with the Grizzlies scoring three times on the man advantage.

Against Alberni Valley, the Rivermen allowed 42 shots and seven power plays, but only one goal, which came at even strength.

Langley won despite being outshot 42-24.

In that game, back-up goalie Michael Barr picked up his first win with a 42-save performance and Darnell Dyck scored twice.

Derek Sutliffe, Mario Puskarich, Tyler Hanzlick, Vailk Chickkin and Justin Parizek all had a goal apiece.

"Barr was outstanding and we capitalized on our opportunities," O'Rourke said.

Dyck had the lone goal in the loss to the Grizzlies.

Langley (3-6-0-0) will look to avenge that loss, this time in Victoria, as they travel to the provincial capital on Oct. 20.

The team also plays in Nanaimo on Oct. 21 and then faces the conference-leading Powell River Kings on Oct. 22 at the Langley Events Centre.

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