Special teams sink Rivermen

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After exploding for a dozen goals in their first two contests of the regular season — managing a victory and an overtime loss for three out of a possible four points — the Langley Rivermen dropped a 3-2 decision to the host Coquitlam Express.

Brady Shaw broke a 2-2 tie in the third period of the game on Friday (Sept. 14) at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre in BCHL junior A hockey action.

"Special teams was the difference in the game," said Langley coach Bobby Henderson.

"They capitalized on a couple of their chances and we went O-fer."

He was referring to the Rivermen getting blanked on six power play chances, including a lengthy two-man advantage early in the third period when the score was still tied at two.

John Siemer and Malcolm McKinney scored first period power-play goals for the Express while defenceman Viktor Dombrovskiy replied for the Rivermen. His goal came off a scramble in front of the Coquitlam net as he banged in a rebound off a Austin Azurdia shot.

Trevor Cope tied the game at two, scoring for the third straight game, in the middle period.

Cope, who leads the team with three goals and five points,  scored on a great wrist shot while coming down the right wing.

Two minutes after Langley failed to capitalize on their two-man advantage, the Rivermen were caught on the ice after a long shift and Alex Kerfoot stole the puck off a Langley defender and fed Shaw, who buried the winner.

Langley had two more power play chances after that, but finished 0-for-6 for the game.

Henderson said after a good opening five minutes, the Rivermen took some penalties and gave Coquitlam some life.

"All in all, I thought we played pretty well," he said.

"(But) we didn't play nearly to the level we are capable of."

Goaltender Darren Hogg was named second star for Langley after stopping 39 of the 42 shots he faced.

Henderson had high praise for his rookie goalie who was making his BCHL debut.

"The only reason we were in the game was because our goaltender stood on his head," the coach said.

The Rivermen play their home opener on Saturday (Sept. 22) when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at the Langley Events Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

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