Garrett James Photography

Rivermen close out regular season

The Rivermen finished off their regular season this weekend with two road games. Fresh off a big win over the Prince George Spruce Kings last Sunday, the Rivermen hit the road again to play the Surrey Eagles and the Chilliwack Chiefs one last time before the real hockey begins in the playoffs. The Rivermen start this year’s playoffs on the road against the pesky Coquitlam Express. But first, one last battle with the rival Eagles.

Overtime hero

The Rivermen headed into Surrey knowing they needed to put some wins together before the playoffs. The first period was quiet with no scoring, but the Rivermen out shot the Eagles 10-5. Joseph Musa opened the scoring in the second period, but seconds after, Hudson Schandor scored for the Eagles to tie the game up.

Rivermen captain Tanner Versluis scored midway through the third to give Langley the lead. The Eagles had an answer as Cristophe Tellier scored a shorthanded goal with only 12 seconds left in the game to tie it up at 2-2, time for overtime. The Rivermen got a power play early into OT and defenceman Jake Livingstone put away the winner for a huge 3-2 road win in Surrey.

It is only fitting that this overtime played out the way it did. Earlier in the day, Livingstone was announced as a finalist for the BCHL Top Defensemen award this season. He finished the season off tied with Brendan Budy for first on the Rivermen with 49 points in 52 games.

After the big overtime win in Surrey, the Rivermen had to shift their focus and try and end their regular season on a good note. So what is better than a two game winning streak? A three game winning streak going right into playoffs and that is what the Rivermen were trying to do against the Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen.

Sunday scaries

The Rivermen made the quick trip down the highway to meet the Chiefs for a Sunday matinee game and Chilliwack controlled the game from the start. Nathan Kelly and Joey Larson both scored in the first period.

The second period was much like the first. Brett Rylance and Ethan Bowen both picked up goals and Larson got his second of the game to put the Chiefs up 5-0 heading into the third. Nothing went right for the Rivermen in this game.

The third period had the Chiefs add two more goals as Connor Milburn and Kyle Penney scored. The Chiefs beat up on the Rivermen by a score of 7-0.

Sunday was ugly. But it is one of those ones where you press the reset button on Monday morning because it’s playoff time! The Rivermen play the Coquitlam Express in the first round of the playoffs this year. The Express finished as the top team in the entire BCHL this season but they will be without one of their top players.

Goaltender Clay Stevenson is ineligible to play in the playoffs due to Ivy League college regulations, he is unable to play junior hockey after he turns 21. Which happens to be on March 3rd, during the middle of the first round.

The Rivermen open the first round on the road on Friday, February 28th in Coquitlam. Expect a different Langley team to show up for that game because the playoffs bring out the best in players.