After holding the high-flying Surrey Eagles to a pair of goals in games one and two combined — and earning a split in the process — the Langley Rivermen could not duplicate the feat on home ice, dropping games three and four to bow out in the first round of the BCHL Fred Page Cup playoffs.
Surrey won 2-0 while Langley countered with a 1-0 victory in the series’ first two games, which were played at the South Surrey Arena.
Rivermen coach and general manager Bobby Henderson said his team probably deserved a better fate after game one and then stole game two.
But when the series shifted to Langley, the high-flying Eagles got their offence on track.
“Monday and Tuesday, it was tough for us to get things going,” Henderson said.
Also not helping things was the fact Surrey held a significant advantage in power plays, getting five in game three and then nine in game four, compared to Langley’s three and two, respectively.
In fact, Viktor Dombrovskiy was whistled for a bench minor even before the game began on Tuesday when he failed to leave the ice prior to the buzzer sounding to end the warm-up.
And 35 seconds into the power play, the puck was in the back of the Langley net.
The Rivermen were penalized five times in the first 20 minutes — the final one came at the whistle — and were down two men for 1:25.
“It was unfortunate,” Henderson said of the officiating. “I don’t think it was on par for the playoffs.
“It is disappointing that the game was influenced before the puck was even dropped.”
With the season done, Henderson said it still has to be looked at as a success, citing an increase in the win total, the team’s community involvement and the fact they had seven players commit to colleges or universities.