The Langley Knights rode an emotional roller-coaster Thursday and Friday.
Sept. 11 marked the debut of junior B hockey at the George Preston Recreation Centre, and the Knights made it a successful one by downing the Mission City Outlaws 7-4.
Levi De Waal and Colin Catchpole each scored twice and added a single assist for the Knights, who got single markers from Tristan Craighead, Mitchell Biermann, and Hayden Smer.
Langley goaltender Nickolas Trenciansky stopped 41 of 45 shots to earn the victory.
The Knights led 3-2 after the first period. The second frame was scoreless and during the final stanza, the hosts had a 4-2 edge in goals.
â€œI thought they played extremely well,â€ Langley head coach John Craighead said, regarding his Knights. â€œThey were excited, but after first period, they got the jitters out, settled in, and played well.â€
Ridge Meadows Flames 7, Knights 2
The very next night, the Knights travelled across the Golden Ears Bridge to Maple Ridgeâ€™s Planet Ice arena, where they fell by five to the host Ridge Meadows Flames.
Discipline and special teams were the difference, as emotions that were still running high from the night before spilled over to Friday.
The Flames cashed in on five of their nine opportunities with the man advantage, and notched three power play goals in the third period.
â€œItâ€™s hard to get right back up when youâ€™re playing back-to-back, after the emotion of our home opener,â€ Craighead said. â€œI wasnâ€™t disappointed with the effort of the guys at all. We ran into penalty trouble and they [the Flames] capitalized on the power play.â€
Craighead added, â€œWhen you are in the penalty box, itâ€™s pretty tough to win hockey games. It came down to team discipline.â€
The Flames led 3-2 after 40 minutes, then scored the only four goals of the final frame to win going away.
Ridge Meadowsâ€™ Michael Bell and Danny Wilson sandwiched goals around a pair of markers from their teammate Andrew Strelezki during a penalty filled third period.
Three of the Flamesâ€™ four third period goals came on the power play.
The score was tied 2-2 after the first period, before Boston Colley scored on the power play to put the Flames ahead for good. His goal was the only one of the middle stanza.
De Waal opened the gameâ€™s scoring on a Knightsâ€™ power play, 1:20 after the opening pick drop.
Dylan McCann tallied Langleyâ€™s other goal.
It was a chippy affair. Langleyâ€™s Craighead battled with Ridge Meadowsâ€™ Colley in the second period, and the Flamesâ€™ Shawn Tilton had a tilt with the Knightsâ€™ Jayden Gill in the third period.
The Knightsâ€™ next home game is this Thursday, Sept. 18 when they host the Abbotsford Pilots at the GPRC. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
Coach Craighead said it will take a bit of time for his team to completely gel. â€œA lot of guys donâ€™t know each other [quite yet], and none of the teams will be settled in until December,â€ he said.