Sports

Rivermen’s season over at hands of Express

Coquitlam Express goaltender Gordie Defiel denies Langley Rivermen forward Matt Ustaski during game five of the best-of-seven BCHL Mainland Division finals. The Rivermen lost the series in six games. - Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Coquitlam Express goaltender Gordie Defiel denies Langley Rivermen forward Matt Ustaski during game five of the best-of-seven BCHL Mainland Division finals. The Rivermen lost the series in six games.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Three goals in the third period spelled the end of the season for the Langley Rivermen.

The Rivermen were up 3-2 after 40 minutes against the Coquitlam Express on Friday night at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre in Coquitlam.

But the Express scored three times in the third period for the 5-3 game six victory, wrapping up the BCHL Mainland Division final series four games to two.

The Express led 2-1 after one period with Ryan Rosenthal and Brendan Lamont — a Langley Minor Hockey Association alum — scoring for the home team while Rivermen captain Mitch McLain responded for the visitors.

Langley scored twice on the power play in the second period with Will Cook and Tanner Johnson both finding the back of the net.

But 1:52 into the third, Jace Hennig tied the game and then with seven minutes to go, Canon Pieper put the Express ahead for good.

Zach Hodder struck for the final goal with 2:29 to play.

This was the second straight series upset for the Express, who are coached by former Langley Chiefs associate head coach Barry Wolff.

The Express were the third seed in the BCHL and beat No. 2 Prince George in six games in the opening round. Coquitlam was 11 points back of Prince George in the regular season standings and 23 back of the Rivermen.

Coquitlam, which finished the regular season with the second-worst goals against average of the 12 playoff teams, leads the post-season with a 2.58 goals against average in 12 games.

The Rivermen had staved off elimination with a 5-2 victory in game five the night before at the Langley Events Centre, but could not do so for a second consecutive game.

Cook, Gage Torrel, Tyson Witala, Johnson and Jakob Reichert scored in the game five victory.

Langley out-scored Coquitlam 19-18 over the six games.

The Rivermen were the top team in the BCHL over the regular season, finishing with a record of 37-13-3-5 and 82 points, becoming the first Langley junior A hockey team ever to win the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy as the overall leader.

The team also had individual accolades as head coach Bobby Henderson was named the BCHL coach of the year.

Matt Ustaski led the Rivermen in post-season scoring with seven goals and 15 points in 12 games.

Langley loses five players to graduation while another five are scheduled to leave to play NCAA hockey.

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