It may be a new season with some faces unfamiliar with the rivalry, but beating the Chilliwack Chiefs felt extra special for the Langley Rivermen.
The last time Langley defeated Chilliwack in junior A BCHL action was back in early October of 2015.
The Chiefs had won the previous six match-ups, including this year’s season opener in Langley on Sept. 9.
But the Rivermen scored three times in the third period on Saturday night at Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre to defeat the Chiefs 4-1 in their home opener.
“We haven’t beat Chilliwack in a while so it definitely felt good,” said Rivermen forward Ryan Barrow, who tallied twice in the victory.
“We knew we hadn’t beat them since the start of last year. so it definitely felt good to beat them.”
The Chiefs led 1-0 after 20 minutes on a goal from Kohen Olischefski, outshooting the Rivermen 15-4.
“We were down 1-0 but I thought we played pretty decent. It was a pretty typical road period; I thought we eased into it,” said Langley head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.
“We had a lot of guys who had never played there, a big crowd there and it was just a matter of getting our legs underneath us.”
He was referring to the Chilliwack crowd of more than 3,500 fans.
The Rivermen were able to use special teams to their advantage.
With two Chiefs in the box in the latter stages of the second period, Barrow tied the score at one.
And then on another power play early in the third, Barrow scored his second of the night for the eventual game-winner.
Francis Boie added an insurance marker about six minutes later and then scored into the empty net for his second of the night. Cameron Ginnetti chipped in with a pair of assists.
“Once we got our structure in place, our defensive zone (coverage) was pretty good,” Barrow said.
“I thought our special teams were the difference in the game,” Henderson said.
“Our penalty kill did a great job when they had to. They blocked shots and paid attention to detail.”
The Chiefs entered the game with four power-play goals in six chances in their two games this season but against Langley, they went 0-for-6. The Rivermen scored twice on six opportunities.
Bo Didur finished with 31 saves for the Rivermen as Langley was outshot 32-21.
In the season opener, Chilliwack doubled up Langley 6-3.
“When we played the (season opener), we went basically straight from exhibition right into the season,” Henderson said.
“There is not a lot of time to work on systems and structures. We were still trying to pick our team at that point and evaluate.”
The victory improved Langley to 2-1-0-0 as the team gets set for the BCHL Bauer Showcase this week in Chilliwack.
The Rivermen play the Penticton Vees tomorrow (Thursday) morning at 10 a.m.
They also play the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon.