The year 2018 is only 36 days old and it’s already been a bit of a mess for the struggling Langley Rivermen.
The Rivermen have limped into the new year, going 3-6 in January.
And the ‘Men were throttled in their first two games of this month, losing 8-1 to the Trail Smoke Eaters at Trail’s Cominco Arena on Friday, and 7-2 to the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday at the Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee, Wash.
The road hasn’t been kind to the ‘Men, with just five wins away from the confines of George Preston Recreation Centre. The Langley junior As are 5-11-8-1 on the road. Among all the B.C. Hockey League teams, only the Coquitlam Express (4-19-0-2) and Cowichan Valley Capitals (2-23-2) have worse road records.
But a great first half of the season has propelled the Rivermen to the playoffs, as they carry a 21-17-10-2 record into their next road game, Friday against Vernon at Kal Tire Place.
Wenatchee Wild 7, Rivermen 2
Saturday against the Wild, the hosts led 2-0 after the first period and dominated the rest of the way to skate to a relatively easy 7-2 victory.
A goal off the stick of Rivermen forward Connor Marshall, his first of two on the night, narrowed the Wild’s lead to 3-1 at the 8:45 mark of the second period.
From that oint on, it was all Wild, who scored three unanswered goals to carry a 6-1 lead into the second intermission.
The teams exchanged goals in the third period to round out the night’s scoring.
The Wild outshot the Rivermen 43-22, including 20-4 in the second period.
Trail Smoke Eaters 8, Rivermen 1
This was an ugly game in many ways, not the least of which was a fight-filled final frame that included three fights, a five-minute checking from behind major assessed to Trail’s Ryan Murphy, and numerous game misconducts.
Meanwhile, the Smoke Eaters led 3-0 after the first period and padded their lead to 5-0 before Marshall tallied the Rivermen’s lone goal with 18 seconds to go in the second period.
The Smoke Eaters kept pouring it on in the third period with three more goals to finish off the night’s scoring.
Marshall scored his ninth of the season just past the midway point of the final frame.
Where the Rivermen end up in the BCHL Mainland Division standings is anyone’s guess. They are just a point back of the second place Surrey Eagles (24-18-5-2) and four up on the fourth place Chilliwack Chiefs (22-20-3-3) in the BCHL’s Mainland Division standings. The Prince George Spruce Kings (27-15-4-4) are starting to skip away from the rest of the pack.