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Langley Rivermen make a splash before the trade deadline, plus weekend recap

The Langley Rivermen went into this past weekend coming off a mid-week loss to the Penticton Vees by a score of 3-1. With a quick turnaround, the Rivermen set their sights on a Friday night showdown against the Chilliwack Chiefs. But first, head coach and GM Bobby Henderson had to worry about the CJHL roster freeze that took place on  January 10 at 4:00 pm and also the trade deadline that kicked in a 3:00 pm. The Rivermen were involved in three trades before the deadline as they made two moves Thursday evening and one on Friday.

CJHL Trade Deadline

Thursday night saw the Rivermen make two deals including one of their biggest of the season as they sent veteran forward Devin Leduc to the Powell River Kings in exchange for forward Hunter McCoy. Leduc earned 65 points in 126 career games with the Rivermen and had 13 goals and 12 assists with them this season. McCoy had nine goals and 11 assists with the Kings this season and will likely slide into the top line playing with leading scorer Brendan Budy.

The Rivermen also acquired goaltender Jonathan Mor from the Minnesota Wilderness for future considerations. Mor split last season between Youngstown and Omaha of the USHL before signing in Minnesota of the NAHL. This season he had a 4.20 GAA and an .868 SV% in 12 games.

With the acquisition of Mor, the Rivermen were stuck with three goalies which meant someone had to be moved. That someone turned out to be rookie Kristian Lyon who was traded to the Battlefords North Stars of the SJHL for future considerations. Lyon saw action in 13 games this season and left the Rivermen with a 3.30 GAA and an .886 SV%.

Friday Showdown with the Chiefs

With the trade deadline a few hours old, the Rivermen loaded up the bus and headed down to Chilliwack to face off against the Chiefs. Hudson Thornton of the Chiefs opened up the scoring with a power play goal that was answered right back just over a minute later as Kaeden Patrick got his 11th goal of the season.  Chiefs goalie Mathieu Caron hit the scoresheet just over halfway through the first period as he picked up an assist on a goal from Davis Murray. The Rivermen answered back with two goals in 45 seconds as Ryan Helliwell picked up a power play marker and Matthew Hubbarde added another to make it 3-2. However, the lead didn’t last as the Chiefs were able to tie it up as Kyle Penney scored with just over 3 minutes remaining in the first period.

The Rivermen came out quick in the second period as Tristan Fraser scored only 30 seconds in. But that was all the offense the Rivermen could get in the second. The Chiefs scored twice midway through the period as Joey Larson and Arlo Merritt notched goals a minute apart to have the Chiefs leading 5-4 going into the third.

The power play worked again for the Rivermen in the third period as they were able to tie it up on  Helliwell’s second of the game. Sean Bunting got the eventual game-winner just over six minutes into the third as the Rivermen were able to hang on to beat the Chiefs 6-5.

Rivermen Run Over by the Express

After a nice Friday night road win, the Rivermen had a night off before a Sunday matinee game against the best team in the BCHL – the Coquitlam Express. Newly acquired goalie Jonathan Mor made his first career BCHL start in this game. Ethan O’Rourke of the Express opened the scoring on a power play in the first period just over eight minutes in. Hunter McCoy tied the game up on the power play as he picked up his first goal with the Rivermen. Unfortunately, that was the only goal Langley got all night. O’Rourke picked up his second of the game with under a minute left in the first to have the Express leading 2-1.

The second period busted wide open for Coquitlam as Adam Trotman scored twice and Cooper Connell, Massimo Rizzo and Greg Lapointe had one each to have the express up 7-1. The game started to turn into a bit of a gong show at this point, and it boiled over into the third period.

Wyatt Head of the Express scored the lone goal of the final frame as the Express eventually took it by a score of 8-1. With no love lost between these teams, the third period saw three fights. All in all, the teams combined for 80 penalty minutes. It was a big factor as the Express was able to score five power play goals on eight attempts.

The Rivermen are back in action on Friday night as they make a trip up to chilly Prince George to take on the Spruce Kings.