The Langley Rivermen are losing more than they’re winning of late, but there are two reasons to get excited about the junior A squad.
And their names are Max Kaufman and Cameron Ginnetti.
Kaufmann, a 20-year-old forward who is headed to the is the University of Vermont (NCAA Div. 1) next season, is the B.C. Hockey League’s second leading scorer with 11 goals and 25 points in 17 games.
And Ginnetti, 18, who is off to Clarkson University (NCAA Div. 1) in 2017-18, is the league’s top point-getting defenceman with 16 assists (tied with Wenatchee Wild forward Troy Conzo for third most in the BCHL) and 18 points.
“They play hard every night,” Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said, about his two top scorers. “Cam has really put his game together [of late] and has been solid, and ‘Kauf’ battles every night. He’s an exciting player to watch and he’s been all we’ve expected from him.”
Despite this, the Rivermen can’t seem to get any traction.
With a 4-9-3-1 record, the Rivermen sit fifth in the BCHL’s Mainland Division, and the first place Wenatchee Wild (11-2-1) are already becoming a speck in the distance.
During their three-game trip through Vancouver Island last weekend, the ’Men sandwiched a 4-3, double overtime loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday between regulation losses to the Victoria Grizzlies (4-2) and Powell River Kings (5-1).
“On Friday and Saturday night, we played two great games on the Island and on Sunday, we just ran out of gas,” Henderson said.
Cowichan Valley Capitals 4, Rivermen 3 (double OT)
Max Newton scored the winner in the second overtime period, as the Capitals slipped past the ’Men Saturday at the Island Savings Centre in Duncan.
On a Rivermen power play, Ginnetti, on an assist from Kaufman, evened the count at three goals apiece with 5:21 remaining in the second period.
After that, however, neither team could find the net.
That is, until the second overtime.
Kaufman (who finished with three points on a goal and two assists) and Ryan Barrow scored the other Rivermen goals.
Henderson called Rivermen’s effort “gutsy.”
“We were able to take them to double overtime, and the goal they [the Capitals] scored in double OT was a great goal,” Henderson said.
Langley’s bench boss also lauded the play of 17-year-old netminder Braedon Fleming, who made 34 saves and was a big reason why the ’Men took the game to overtime.
“He did a great job and gave us a chance,” Henderson said. “He almost stole one for us.”
Victoria Grizzlies 4, Rivermen 2
After a scoreless opening frame, the Grizzlies parlayed a big second period that saw them outscore the Rivermen 3-1 into a 4-2 victory Friday at The Q Centre.
The ’Men came to within one goal when Kaufmann scored on a power play to make it 3-2, but that was as close as they got.
With Langley goalie Bo Didur on the bench for an extra attacker, Victoria’s Jamie Rome deposited the puck into the empty net with seven seconds to go in regulation to round out the scoring.
The Rivermen’s Brendan Budy tied the score at 1-1 at the 9:40 mark of the second period, before the Grizzlies pulled away for good with back-to-back markers, to take a two-goal lead into the second intermission.
Powell River Kings 5, Rivermen 1
Playing their third game in as many days, the Rivermen were never really in Sunday’s match-up at Hap Parker Arena.
The host Kings led 3-0 after the first period and 4-0 after 40 minutes, and outshot the ’Men 35-17 through two periods of play.
The teams traded singles during a third period that saw the Kings add 21 more to their shot totals.
With the Rivermen down 5-0, Langley’s Nicholas Ponak ruined Kings goalie Brian Wilson’s shutout bid late in the third period.
The Kings outshot the Rivermen 56-26 overall.
With a compact schedule that saw them play 10 games in 21 days in October nearly behind them, the Rivermen only play once this weekend.
Henderson said this will allow the ’Men to get some solid practice time in as they enter their third month of the campaign.
With three regulation wins to show for their past 10 games, the Rivermen close out the month this Saturday at home against the Surrey Eagles. Opening puck drop at the George Preston Recreation Centre is 6 p.m.