- BC Games
Offence dries up as Rivermen hit winless skid
Goals were hard to come by last week for the Langley Rivermen who scored just twice in a three-game span.
Not surprisingly, that was only enough offence to get the team a single point out of a possible six in BCHL junior A hockey action.
The Rivermen had lost 3-0 to the Chilliwack Chiefs last Wednesday (Oct. 16) before skating to a 1-1 tie with the Penticton Vees on Saturday (Oct. 19). They wrapped up the three-game stretch with a 3-1 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings. All three games were at the Langley Events Centre.
The Vees are ranked eighth in the most recent Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, while Langley — which was on a six-game winning streak — fell from 13th the week before to honourable mention.
Matt Ustaski had the lone goal against the Vees, scoring short-handed in the second period. That was countered by a goal from Penticton's Ben Dalpe in the third period.
Against Prince George, Jakob Reichert had a power-play goal but it came in the third period with his team down 2-0.
Prince George's Jeremiah Luedtke and Chad Staley had put the visitors ahead in the opening period. The Spruce Kings iced the victory with Luedtke's second of the game which came late in regulation.
Against Chilliwack, the Chiefs also jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals from Ben Butcher and Carter Cochrane.
Zach Diamantoni scored in the final minute for the 3-0 victory.
"Obviously goal scoring has not been very consistent," said Langley associate coach Kurt Astle.
"We are looking to make improvements."
The hockey club had no problems scoring last season but last the upper-end of their offensive production to graduation.
Astle said the team expected the offence to be goal-scoring by committee, but that has failed to materialize through the season's first 16 games.
The Rivermen do still lead the Mainland Division with a record of 9-5-1-1 and 20 points.
"They are not capitalizing on the chances they are getting and the chances are very few and far between," Astle said.
"It is just a matter of getting back to good habits."
Defensively, the team has played well, and their penalty kill has also been great, ranked fifth in the league so far.
"It is great to see the guys buying in," Astle said, about their willingness to block shots and play solidly in their own zone.
The team is back in action on Thursday (Oct. 24) when they host the Coquitlam Express at the LEC. Game time is 7:15 p.m. They also host the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday (Oct. 26).