The 2019-20 BCHL season kicked off this past weekend and it saw the Langley Rivermen play two games at home. The Rivermen opened up the season on Saturday night against the Coquitlam Express and in a game where special teams dictated the action, the Rivermen eventually fell short and lost by a score of 5-2. With no time to dwell on the loss, the Rivermen had a quick turnaround as they had a Sunday afternoon game against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season, the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Chiefs scored three times on the power play and defeat the Rivermen by a score of 5-2.
“I thought we played outside our box. We had a lot of guys that didn’t fill their identity,” said Rivermen GM and Head Coach Bobby Henderson after the loss to the Express on Saturday night. Henderson also voiced his displeasure with the Rivermen’s penalty killing after Coquitlam was able to score four power play goals in the game.
Saturday night’s game against the Express started fast, as both teams were going back and forth. The Rivermen had 20 shots on goal after the first but couldn’t solve the Express goalie Thomas Wardle. Coquitlam broke the scoreless tie five minutes into the second period as they were able to finally beat Rivermen goalie Braedon Fleming for the first goal of the game. Kalen Szeto hit the scoresheet for the Rivermen in the second period finishing off a great pass from Brendan Budy. Coquitlam scored twice after that and the second period ended with a score of 3-1 in favour of the Express. The third period started how the second ended, with the Express scoring twice. Rivermen rookie Tristan Fraser was able to get his first BCHL goal in the third period but Langley came up short, losing to the Express 5-2.
The Riv outshot the Express but couldn’t come away with the win tonight.
Tomorrow’s game is an afternoon tilt vs the Chilliwack Chiefs.
Game time: 2:30 pm
Location: The Lodge (GPRC) pic.twitter.com/VvRmVPqTxS
— Langley Rivermen (@LangleyRivermen) September 8, 2019
In a Sunday matinee game, the Chilliwack Chiefs visited the George Preston Recreation Centre for the first time this season. The Rivermen came out of the gate a little flat as the Chiefs dictated most of the play in the first period, scoring twice on the powerplay. The second period started with the Chiefs getting a short-handed goal early that chased Fleming from the net. He was replaced by rookie Kristian Lyon. Ryan Helliwell got Langley on the board halfway through the period with a power play goal. The third period saw Tristan Fraser scoring twice for the Rivermen, including once on the power play. The Chiefs also scored twice in the third and hung on to win 5-3.
A big ‘thank you’ to all the fans that came out for our home opening weekend!
Our next home game is Sept 13 at 7:15PM pic.twitter.com/6auPqse06r
— Langley Rivermen (@LangleyRivermen) September 9, 2019
Next Up, Warriors
There is no need to panic as the Rivermen showed some signs of great hockey during both of these games. The season is brand new and the players are still learning how to play with each other. The Rivermen look to turn things around on September 13, as they welcome the West Kelowna Warriors to the Lodge. Both teams will be looking for their first win of the new season. Puck drop is at 7:15.
Rivermen Rundown 3 Stars
1. Tristan Fraser
Rookie forward Fraser finished off the weekend with three goals, one against the Express and two against the Chiefs. Fraser also saw some power play and penalty killing minutes throughout the entire weekend.
2. Kalen Szeto
Yale commit Szeto used his speed to create scoring chances over the weekend. Szeto finished off a nice tic-tac-toe play against the Express and picked up an assist against the Chiefs.
3. Joseph Musa
Musa, who is committed to Dartmouth, was all over the puck during both games on the weekend. His speed was a huge factor and he was able to pick up two assists in his first two BCHL games.