Rivermen secure post-season berth

Langley junior A hockey club clinches playoff spot, now aim for second place in Mainland Division

The Langley Rivermen are going to the BCHL post-season dance.

The junior A hockey club made sure of it after back-to-back road victories in Prince George last week, defeating the Spruce Kings 5-4 in double overtime on Jan. 21 and then scoring three third-period goals to win 5-2 the next night.

“That is what the regular season is about, preparing for the playoffs and trying to put yourself in a position (to get in), so we are happy to have that out of the way early,” said Langley head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.

“(But) we still have a lot in front of us.”

Langley also hosted the Coquitlam Express on Sunday at the Langley Events Centre, letting a third-period lead slip away before losing the second point with a 6-5 overtime loss.

The results improved Langley to 25-17-1-1 and 52 points.

There are 13 regular season games between now and the end of February remaining in the BCHL schedule, including four head-to-head games against the Wenatchee Wild. The Wild hold down second place in the division with a one-point advantage on the Rivermen.

The first of those four meetings is on Saturday at the LEC at 6 p.m. The Rivermen also host Surrey on Sunday at 3 p.m.

And with the two teams on a collision for a first-round playoff series in early March — the division-leading Chilliwack Chiefs are seven points clear of second place while fourth-place Coquitlam is eight points back of third spot — Henderson said the team will try to secure home-ice advantage for that first round.

“Home-ice isn’t everything, but it is definitely and incentive to play for,” he said. “Our mindset has to be to win every game and win anywhere, anytime.”

During the team’s two-game set with Prince George, Torrin White ended the first contest with a double overtime winner. The game also featured a couple of firsts, including Austin Crookshank scoring on his first BCHL shift and Alec Capstick also potting his first career BCHL goal. Max Kaufman and Jason O’Neill had the other Langley goals.

Bo Didur stopped 38 shots in goal for the win while Nick Trenciansky got the call in game two and came through with 28 saves.

The second game saw the teams tied at two heading into the final 20 minutes before Langley closed things out with three straight goals.

The Rivermen were ahead 2-0 late in the second on goals from Will Campion and Matthew Graham but Prince George took advantage of some Langley penalty troubles to score power-play goals 23 seconds apart just before intermission. The first of those goals came with Langley two men down.

But the Rivermen showed their own quick-strike offence as White and Donovan Shambeau struck for goals 25 seconds apart. Shambeau’s goal was also his first in the BCHL.

Matty Saharchuk rounded out the scoring.

Against Coquitlam on Sunday, the Rivermen surrendered four power-play goals, including the overtime winner.

The game should not have gotten to that point as Langley allowed two late goals that tied the score.

“We weren’t happy to be in that situation. We should have ended that game in regulation,” Henderson said.

Ryan Barrow led the Rivermen with two goals while Justin Szeto, Jordan Schneider and White had the others.

With the goal, White stretched his point streak to five games and he has five goals and nine points in that span.

“It is nice to see things come together for him. He is a big part of our hockey club,” Henderson said.

“It is just clicking for him.”

Matthew Graham had three assists.


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