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Rivermen run win streak to five games

Langley junior A hockey club has just one regulation loss in past 10 games

The Langley Rivermen pushed their winning streak to a season-high five games and the junior A hockey club now holds a share of top spot in the entire BC Hockey League.

The Rivermen beat the Prince George Spruce Kings 2-1 on Saturday night in a battle of the top two teams in the Mainland Division. Langley followed that up with a decisive 5-1 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs the following afternoon, improving to 10-3-6-0 and 26 points, five clear of the second-place Spruce Kings.

Both games were at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

“The biggest thing is a buy-in to playing team defence,” said Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson. “Our forwards are playing a 200-foot game (and) their back pressure is allowing our defence to have tight gaps through the neutral zone, which is keeping the shot count down.”

Langley also only has one regulation loss in their past 10 games (7-1-2-0) and have allowed 28 goals over that span. Even more impressive is the fact the Rivermen have surrendered just eight goals over the past five games.

Braedon Fleming stopped 18 of 19 shots in Saturday’s victory while Brendan Budy and Angus Crookshank potted the goals. Kyle Johnson had the lone Prince George goal, cutting the lead to 2-1 with 13 minutes to play.

And after a scoreless opening period on Sunday, Crookshank, Eric Butte and Budy struck in the middle stanza.

Cayden Kraus got the Bulldogs on the board in the third but Nicholas Ponak and Brady Berger scored goals 35 seconds apart to put the game out of reach.

Crookshank also had a pair of assists to finish with three points.

Chad Cromar made 28 saves for the victory.

“We’re getting solid goaltending from both guys (and) offensively, we are getting production from all four lines,” Henderson said.

“And our power play has come to life the past four games.”

The Rivermen are 5-for-20 over that span after scoring just six power-play goals combined over the first 14 games.

Langley heads to Prince George this weekend for a pair of games on Nov. 3 and 4.

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Langley Rivermen defenceman Derek Hamelin advances the puck against Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ Mitchell Oliver during Langley’ 5-1 win on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre. Dan Ferguson Langley Times
Langley Rivermen’s Angus Crookshank had a goal and two assists in his team’s 5-1 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Sunday at the George Preston Recreation Centre. Dan Ferguson Langley Times