Rough start as Rivermen drop pair

Junior A hockey season begins with Langley struggling to put the puck in the net in a pair of losses

The offence was rusty and the result was a pair of losses to open the B.C. Hockey League season for the Langley Rivermen.

The junior A squad lost 4-2 on Friday to the Salmon Arms Silverback and 2-1 to the Victoria Grizzlies on Sunday as the league held their annual BCHL Bauer Showcase at Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre.

“It’s only two games in,” said Rivermen associate head coach Jon Calvano.

“We have to minimize our turnovers in the (offensive) zone and work with the defence on quicker transition with the puck instead of making the high-risk passes.”

Against Salmon Arm, Langley trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes as the Silverbacks’ Andrew Farny and Thomas Plese both bulged the twine behind Rivermen goaltender Bo Didur.

Will Campion’s point shot beat Angus Redmond to cut the lead to one in the third, but Carson Bolduc woulds score his team’s second power-play goal to restore the two-goal lead.

Evan Anderson scored on a later power play to again make it a one-goal game before Nick Hutchison iced it with an empty-netter.

Didur finished with 31 saves.

The Rivermen had a better start against Victoria with Anderson scoring his second of the weekend in the dying seconds of the first period.

But that is all the offence they would get thanks to the stellar goalkeeping off the Grizzlies’ Michael Stiliadis, who stopped 34 shots.

PJ Conlon tied the score at one in the second before Shawn McBride’s one-timer beat Darren Martin early in the third for the winning goal. Martin made 26 saves in the loss.

“It wasn’t what we wanted to get done this weekend,” Calvano said.

“We would’ve like to come home with four points, but we saw some areas of improvement we can strive for.”

A big problem was the team’s power play which went 0-for-4.

“It wasn’t very potent; we didn’t execute any of our opportunities,” Calvano said.

“We had some looks but our execution isn’t where we want it to be right now.”

The Rivermen have all week to work on the kinks in their game as they are off until Sunday (Sept. 28) when they head to Vernon to take on the Vipers (1-1-0-0).

Langley Times