The Langley Rivermen scored a big 4-1 victory over the Surrey Eagles to stop a three-game losing streak.
Unfortunately for the team, they could not build on that success, falling 3-1 the following night to the Coquitlam Express.
Both junior A hockey games were played at the George Preston Recreation Centre and the split leaves Langley with a 16-9-9-1 and their 42 points give them a slim one-point lead over Prince George for top spot in the BCHL’s Mainland Division.
Friday’s victory was a solid effort from start to finish, while Saturday was categorized by some lapses, said Langley head coach Bobby Henderson.
“We are doing a good job of keeping ourselves in games, we just need more guys stepping up,” he said. “We are getting opportunities, we are getting chances, it is just making the most of it and capitalizing.”
Sean Gulka led the way in the victory with a pair of goals while John Wojciechowski had a goal and two assists. Ethan Leyh had the other Langley marker.
Surrey’s Perry Winfree ruined Braedon Fleming’s shutout bid with a power-play goal in the third period as the Langley goaltender finished with 22 saves.
“We had good jump, good complete and made the most of our chances,” Henderson said.
Saturday night, however, saw Langley overcame a slow first period to even the score after 40 minutes.
Fleming was back between the pipes on Saturday night, finishing with another 18 saves.
The teams were tied at one after 40 minutes with Joshua Bruce opening the scoring for Coquitlam in the first and Colin Bernard responding with a power-play goal in the second.
The Express’ Alex Ambrosio snapped the deadlock with 5:03 to play before Colby Pederson iced it with an empty-netter.
“We just weren’t good enough in the third,” Henderson said. “Give Coquitlam full credit for the win — they had good goaltending and made the most of their chances. They deserved the win.”
The Rivermen have two games to go before a nearly two-week break for the holidays as Langley hosts Chilliwack on Dec. 15 and Surrey the following night. Both games begin at 7 p.m.
The Eagles sit in third spot in the Mainland Division, four points back of Langley while Chilliwack is in fourth spot and six points back of the Rivermen.
Henderson said he is confident the players will be focused on the task at hand and not looking ahead to some time off.
“They are a pretty focused group and I am confident they will do what they have to to get prepared,” he said. “They know we are in a tight battle in the standings and I am confident they will have themselves prepared.”