A pair of 4-3 victories pushed the Langley Rivermen win streak to three games.
The Rivermen knocked off the Chilliwack Chiefs last week (Jan. 21) and then edged the Trail Smoke Eaters by the same score on Saturday night. Both junior A hockey games were played at the Langley Events Centre.
And the victories helped the Rivermen keep close to the Chiefs in the race for top spot in the BCHL’s Mainland Division.
Chilliwack (27-16-1-1, 56 points) leads by a single point over Langley (25-16-1-4, 55 points) although the Chiefs do hold a game in hand.
Against Chilliwack, Langley trailed 3-2 after 40 minutes, but controlled the third period and scored twice, including the winner from captain Kevan Kilistoff, with seven minutes to play.
“We kept it simple in the third and played our game,” he said.
“(Matt) Graham went in hard on the forecheck, stayed with the puck, made a smart play and I was able to put it home.”
Graham had a goal and assist in the game as the Rivermen beat the Chiefs for the third straight time.
Gage Torrel and Erik Udahl had the other Langley goals while Craig Puffer, Kurt Black and Ryan Roseboom responded for the Chiefs.
Bo Didur made 31 saves for the victory.
Against Trail a few nights later, Vela scored twice and Torrel had a goal and two assists. Colton Kehler had opened the scoring for Langley and Darren Martin stopped 35 shots in the victory.
“We wanted to maintain our composure and not get sucked in,” said Rivermen assistant coach Kurt Astle.
“We defended well, identified their top guys and at the end of the day, those are two big points for us.”
Langley was also dealing with some injury troubles and had two call-ups in the lineup.
“The AP’s (affiliate players) that came in played really well for us and the whole team rallied together,” Vela said.
“It might not be the prettiest game, but we got it done.”
All four lines contributed on the scoresheet, and Martin came through with some timely saves.
“We didn’t have our best game defensively,” Astle said.
“We caused some unnecessary turnovers and gave up a couple of breakaways, but lucky for us, Darren was there to save the day.”
The Rivermen will look for a fourth straight win as they host the Prince George Spruce Kings on Thursday (Jan. 29) at the LEC.