Sports

Rivermen head into holiday break in top spot

Langley Rivermen
Langley Rivermen's Matt Ustaski (right) chases the loose puck behind the net as Nanaimo Clippers' Colton Dahlen chases after it following a missed grab by goaltender Jayson Argue. The Clippers won 3-2 in overtime.
— image credit: Alyssa O'Dell/Langley Times

While the Langley Rivermen head into the holiday break on a sour note thanks to a 3-2 overtime loss, they do sit in top spot in the BCHL’s Mainland Division.

The junior A hockey club wrapped up a three games in three days stretch with five of a possible six points.

The Rivermen beat the Surrey Eagles and Powell River Kings by identical 5-2 scores on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14 and then closed out the weekend with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Nanaimo Clippers.

All three games were at the Langley Events Centre and the results leave the Rivermen sporting a 22-11-1-3 record to lead their division with 48 points in 37 games. The second-place Prince George Spruce Kings are four points back but do have three  games in hand.

Leading the way for the team was captain Mitch McLain, who earned an honourable mention as the BCHL player of the week after registering three goals and four assists. He was twice named first star and in the third game was the second star.

Rivermen 5 Eagles 2

Langley’s special teams came through in a four-goal second period versus the Eagles.

Matt Ustaski scored both a power play goal and a short-handed marker in the period, while Mitch McLain also scored with the team a man down.

Gage Torrel struck for an even-strength tally while Surrey’s Nicolas Pierog capped off the wild period with a penalty shot goal.

Brent Mulcahy made the score 4-2 with a power play goal before Austin Azurdia scored into the empty net with the Rivermen down a man for the team’s third short-handed goal of the game.

Brock Crossthwaite made 26 saves for the win.

Rivermen 5 Kings 2

The second game of the weekend saw no short-handed goals, but the Rivermen’s power play came through with three goals.

The Kings’ Jarid Lukosevicius had opened the scoring with a short-handed goal for Powell River. But for the second time in as many games, the Rivermen scored four times in the middle frame.

McLain, Zach Urban, Jakob Reichert and Kevan Kilistoff all scored within a 12-minute span.

Lukosevicius scored his second of the night to cut the score down to 4-2 in the third before McLain scored into the empty net.

Crossthwaite picked up the win once again, this time stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

Clippers 3 Rivermen 2 (OT)

Langley had to rally to salvage the point as they trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes with Nanaimo’s Bo Brauer and Jacob Hanlon netting the goals.

Chris Forney would get the Rivermen on the board in the first minute of the third period with a power-play goal and Torrel would pull the home side even with just under nine minutes to play.

But in the second overtime period, with the teams three skaters aside, Nanaimo’s Sheldon Rempal would bury the winner.

Lyndon Starwood was tagged with the loss, making 34 saves.

•••••

The Rivermen return to action with a home-and-home series against the Coquitlam Express.

The teams play at the LEC on Dec. 28 and then move to the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre the next afternoon.

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