In just their second season, the Langley Rivermen have qualified for the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup playoffs.
But the junior A hockey club is not content with just a post-season appearance.
“That is one goal,” said head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson. “I don’t think we are done by any means; this is just the start of it.
“When we put a team together, we put it together with the idea that we could compete in the playoffs,” he added.
“They are built for a series and to grind it out.”
Langley qualified for the playoffs thanks to some strong play down the stretch with four wins in their past five games, including two of three over the weekend: a 4-3 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs on Friday at the Langley Events Centre, and then a split during a two-game visit to Prince George: 4-1 for the Spruce Kings on Saturday and 8-4 Langley the following afternoon.
The last victory put the Rivermen out of the reach of the Coquitlam Express who are seven points back with just two games to play.
Last season, Langley struggled to a 19-35-1-5 record. They also scored a Coastal Conference-low 174 goals (2.90 per game) while allowing 237 (3.95).
This season, the Rivermen are tied for the conference lead with 191 goals (3.54) while allowing 194 goals against (3.59). They also sport a 24-24-1-5 record.
And while Henderson said they would have liked more victories, he is fairly happy with how the season has played out.
“The losses that we had, there weren’t too many of them that weren’t one-goal games or extremely close,” he said.
“It has been night and day (compared to last season).”
Langley draws the first-place Surrey Eagles in the best-of-five Mainland Division semifinal series. Games one and two are at the South Surrey Arena on March 15 and 16 while game three is at the LEC on March 18. If necessary, game four would be in Langley on March 19 while a fifth and deciding game would be in Surrey on March 20.
The Rivermen are in tough, having lost eight of nine to Surrey.
“We set out to make it to the Royal Bank Cup. That was our goal in August and we are going to continue working on it,” he said. “We have stressed working hard on getting better every game and every day and I think that we have.”
Langley has their regular season home finale tonight (Thursday) against the Chiefs at 7:15 p.m. The two rivals then square off in Chilliwack on Saturday to close the regular season.