Rivermen steal home-ice advantage

Langley earns split in Wenatchee, now hosts games three, four and five at George Preston Recreation Centre

The Langley Rivermen were one shot away from taking a commanding 2-0 series lead in their best-of-seven playoff series.

Instead, the Rivermen return to Langley with a 1-1 split after a pair of road games against the Wenatchee Wild.

And the Langley junior A hockey club was one shot away from taking both games on the road, falling 4-3 in overtime on Sunday at the Toyota Town Centre.

The Rivermen won by that same 4-3 score, only in regulation, the night before.

The BCHL Mainland Division semifinal series now shifts to the George Preston Recreation Centre for games three, four and five. They will be played March 8, 9 and 10, all beginning at 7 p.m.

“I was happy with the effort (the first night). I thought we really outplayed them and stuck to our game plan,” said Langley head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.

“The second night, I thought we looked a little bit flat through the first two periods. but really played to our capabilities in the third.”

The Rivermen were down 2-0 after 40 minutes as Troy Conzo and Charlie Combs both scored in the second period in Sunday’s game two.

Alec Capstick cut the lead to 2-1 early in the third, but Matthew Baker restored the two-goal advantage a few minutes later.

The Rivermen rallied, however, with Adam Sinclair making it a one-goal game with three minutes to play before Will Campion forced overtime with just eight seconds left.

But Brendan Harris scored at 9:30 of sudden-death overtime to give the home side the win.

Bo Didur made 39 saves as Langley was outshot 43-30.

“We showed some character coming back in the third. But anytime you get to overtime, you obviously want to get the win,” Henderson said.

“But I am pretty happy they didn’t roll (over) in the third and they fought their way back and made it a game.”

The first game saw Matthew Graham and Trevor Ayre score for Langley in the opening 20 minutes before Blake Christensen and Mike Coyne responded in the second to tie things up.

Bryan Yoon put the Wild ahead early in the third before Torrin White tied two minutes later. White then struck for the winner with less than four minutes to play.

Didur was again the busier of the two goalies, making 43 saves as his team was outshot 46-25.

With Langley having stolen home-ice advantage, Henderson said the key is for the team to stick to their game plan.

“Just playing our game. The biggest thing is playing with energy. It is a matter of having that mental toughness and playing the same way regardless of how you feel,” he said.