Langley Rivermen win, lose in OT, fall to Silverbacks

The Langley Rivermen are still finding their groove 11 games into their junior A hockey season.

The ’Men haven’t exactly set the B.C. Hockey League on fire, but they haven’t been bad either.

With a 4-4-0-3 record, they sit alone in third place in the BCHL’s Mainland Division.

Over the weekend, the Rivermen played a pair of road games, earning a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night, before dropping a 5-2 decision to the host Silverbacks in Salmon Arm on Sunday afternoon.

 

Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5, Rivermen 2

Leading 3-2, the Silverbacks scored the final two goals of the third period, both with the man advantage.

The Silverbacks led 3-0 before defenceman Jordan Schneider scored his first of the season on a Rivermen power play at the 15:05 mark of the second period, to narrow the visitors’ deficit to 3-1.

Just 2:03 into the third period, rookie forward Justin Szeto tallied his first of the campaign to make it a one-goal game.

But that was as close as the Rivermen would come.

 

Trail Smoke Eaters 3, Rivermen 2 (overtime)

Trail’s Kienan Scott scored 2:44 into the first overtime period to lift the home team to victory.

Gage Torrel (who opened the scoring 6:43 into the first period), and Dante Hahn (tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period) scored for the Rivermen.

Hahn’s goal, at the 2:45 mark of the final frame, came 37 seconds after Trail’s Harlan Orr gave the Smoke Eaters a 2-1 advantage.

Smoke Eaters goaltender Adam Todd was named the game’s first star, after stopping 36 of 38 shots fired his way. The Rivermen outshot the Smoke Eaters 38-27.

Rivermen 4, Surrey Eagles 3 (overtime)

Jake Zeleznikar scored 1:44 into overtime to lift the Rivermen to a 4-3 victory over the Surrey Eagles on Wednesday at the Langley Events Centre.

Zeleznikar’s game winner snuck in-between the arm of Christian Short, who was stellar in net for the Eagles.

“Our guys came out with some good jump,” Rivermen assistant coach Kurt Astle said. “We had some success early but didn’t get the results we wanted on the chances we generated, but I was happy to see the guys stick with it and stay out of the penalty box. We didn’t sit back at all and I was happy to see our guys step up and get the win.”

The Rivermen came out firing in the opening stages of the game, as Kevan Kilistoff scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season on the power play, 3:23 into the period, thanks to some creative stick work by Evan Anderson.

Langley peppered the Surrey netminder with shots throughout the contest, as Short got in the way of 55 of 59 pucks fired his way in the overtime loss.

“He’s a guy we’ve leaned on quite a bit this year and he’s been our horse back there,” Eagles head coach and general manager Blaine Neufeld said. “When you’ve faced 59 shots, you’re tired. Overtime is a lot to ask and he definitely stole a point for us today.”

Surrey forced the extra session with a goal that squeaked past Bo Didur with 3:42 remaining in regulation.

Didur came up with 26 saves in the win as the Rivermen pick up their 10th point of the season and remain in third place in the Mainland Division.

“We couldn’t let off the gas pedal,” Langley forward Marcus Vela said. “We played a full 60 minutes and that was the main focus coming into today, and we came away with a positive result.”

The Eagles actually thought they scored early in overtime, but the goal was waved off due to goalie interference.

“Langley was quick in the first period,” Neufeld said. “When we played them at our barn, they were playing their third game in three days. Tonight, they were fresh and showed they wanted it more.”

Gage Torrel and Ryan Coulter scored the other Rivermen goals while Justin Szeto, Marcus Vela, and Hunter Anderson also picked up assists in the victory.

The Rivermen’s next two games are on the road when they travel to Trail to take on the Smoke Eaters Saturday, Oct. 18.

The following day, Sunday, Oct. 19 Langley is in Salmon Arm for a matinee match-up versus the Silverbacks.

ICE CHIPS: Surrey fired 29 shots towards Didur, who was shaken up in a collision during the first period, and was able to continue. Just 573 fans dotted the blue landscape that is the LEC Arena Bowl.

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