Win streak comes to end for Langley Rivermen

Langley Rivermen
Langley Rivermen's Ben Butcher and Surrey Eagles' Dan O'Keefe clash during the Eagles' 10-2 victory at the Langley Events Centre on Jan. 13.
— image credit: Boaz Joseph/Black Press

A pair of first-place foes spelled the end of the Langley Rivermen’s winning streak.

The Rivermen had won four straight games to climb into the fourth and final playoff spot in the BCHL’s Mainland Division, but that streak came to a crashing thud with a pair of home-ice losses at the Langley Events Centre.

The Rivermen fell 5-1 to the Interior Division-leading Penticton Vees on Saturday night and then suffered a 10-2 drubbing at the hands of their Mainland Division-rivals, the Surrey Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

“Two good teams happened to us,” said Langley coach and general manager Bobby Henderson, when asked about the modest win streak coming to an end.

“Both games we got a good start (but) those are two good hockey teams, give them credit.”

Derek Sutliffe had the lone Langley goal against Penticton, but it came in the third period with his team already down 5-0.

And in Sunday’s contest with the Eagles, Langley recovered from a 2-0 first-period deficit thanks to goals from Mario Puskarich and Austin Azurdia in the first 4:20 of the second period. But Surrey scored three more times before intermission and then tacked on another five goals in the third to win going away.

“The Surrey game, we let get away from us,” Henderson said.

“And our guys didn’t do a very good job responding.”

Leading the way was trade deadline pick-up Adam Tambellini who had a hand in half his team’s goals with a hat trick and five points.

Puskarich and Tambellini are tied for the league lead in goals with 27 apiece, although Puskarich does lead the BCHL in points, with 54.

Former Langley Minor Hockey Association player Kevan Kilistoff finished with the Gordie Howe hat trick, thanks to a goal, an assist and a fight.

Boaz Joseph/Black Press

Surrey Eagles’ Kevan Kilistoff fires a puck on goal while Langley Rivermen’s Austin Bietenbeck dives in an attempt to break up the play. Both Kilistoff and Bietenbeck are Langley Minor Hockey Association alum. Kilistoff scored once and set up another goal as the Eagles cruised to the 10-2 victory.

“We use these games as a measuring stick,” Henderson said, adding that he did see some positives from the weekend despite an aggregate score of 15-3 for their foes.

The Rivermen will look to return to the win column as they travel to Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre for a showdown with the Express on Friday (Jan. 18).

Langley holds a one-point lead over Coquitlam — although the Rivermen have a pair of games in hand — for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Mainland Division.

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