Seventh time the charm for Rivermen

After six overtime defeats, Langley junior A hockey club wins in seventh try

The Langley Rivermen sure must love playing hockey. After all, it seems every other game requires a few extra minutes of hockey.

The Rivermen needed overtime in both games this past weekend and have now gone beyond 60 minutes in seven of 13 junior A games this BCHL season.

But unlike the first six times, the Rivermen finally picked up the extra point as the team improved to 5-2-6-0.

“It is not how you draw it up but they are big points at the end of the day,” said Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson. “We are doing a pretty good job of keeping ourselves relevant in the standings.”

Angus Crookshank scored 4:37 into overtime to give the Rivermen a 5-4 win over the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings on Saturday night at the George Preston Recreation Centre. With the win, Langley pulled to within one point of the Spruce Kings for top spot in the Mainland Division.

“We took a big step in getting the overtime win this weekend,” Henderson said, referring to the fact the team had failed to earn the extra point in their first six overtime games.

“I think it was just a mental block for our group, just a confidence thing.

“Hopefully tasting that success in an overtime situation will turn into more wins down the road.”

The goal was Crookshank’s second of the game and fifth of the season in just his fifth game of the season.

“He is a big-time difference maker for us,” the coach said.

Sean Gulka, Trevor St. Jean and Devin Leduc had the other Rivermen goals while Liam Watson-Brawn, Dustin Manz, Kyle Johnson and Ben Brar had the Spruce Kings goals.

The night before in Coquitlam, the Rivermen were on the wrong end of a 2-1 overtime loss against the Express as Lucas Wong potted the winner at 2:58.

Coquitlam’s Eric Linell and Langley’s Daneel Lategan had the other goals.

Braedon Fleming was in goal for both games, making 26 saves on Friday and another 25 on Saturday.

The Rivermen are back in action on Oct. 17 in West Kelowna and the following night in Penticton versus the Vees.

The team’s next home game is a matinee on Oct. 22 (2 p.m.) against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

As the team approaches the quarter-point of the 58-game season, Henderson said his team has shown promise.

“We know we have to get better every weekend and know we should be a team that is in the mix at the end of the day,” he said. “We have shown flashes of brilliance and then at certain times, we have shown our youth a bit.

“(But) all in all, I think we are heading in the right direction.”

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