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Rivermen tied for top spot

Three straight victories gives Langley share of BCHL overall lead

Three straight victories has the Langley Rivermen atop not only the BCHL’s Mainland Division, but it also gives the junior A hockey club a share of top spot overall.

The Rivermen beat the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-3 on Saturday night in Chilliwack before returning to Langley and hammering the Cowichan Valley Capitals 7-2 on Sunday afternoon at the George Preston Recreation Centre.

The weekend results — coupled with a 2-1 win over the Penticton Vees earlier in the week — gives Langley a record of 8-3-6-0.

A big key to the weekend was secondary scoring, especially against the Capitals as three Langley players each notched their first goals of the season.

“We had some guys step up and some of the new guys are feeling comfortable and starting to assert themselves in their play,” said Rivermen head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.

“They have been going to the net plenty and just haven’t been rewarded so it was good to see those guys hit the scoresheet.”

Sunday’s game was tied at one after 20 minutes with John Wojciechowski scoring for Langley and Raphael Gosslin responding for the visitors.

Langley seized control in the middle stanza as Tanner Versluis, Angus Crookshank and Spencer Berry each notching a goal.

Trevor St. Jean and Eric Butte padded the lead before Connor Marshall got one back for the visitors.

Chad Cromar made 27 saves for the victory.

Saturday’s victory saw Langley score three times on eight first-period shots.

Eric Butte, Crookshank and Ethan Leyh staked the visitors to a 3-0 lead and Carter Stephenson scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal 2:32 into the middle period.

The Chiefs’ Harrison Blaisdel cut the lead to two before intermission and Adam Berg and Bryan Allbee made things interesting with third-period goals.

Goalie Braedon Fleming finished with 32 saves for the Rivermen.

Altogether, nine Langley players scored on the weekend while 11 players had at least one point.

“(Balanced scoring) is going to be key for us, moving forward,” Henderson said.

“This alleviates some of the pressure off those top guys with that secondary scoring. That is definitely a big asset for our team.”

The Rivermen host Prince George — who are three points back of Langley for the division lead — on Saturday night at 7 p.m. before welcoming the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for a 2 p.m. matinee the following afternoon.

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Rivermen forward Ethan Leyh heads for the Cowichan goal with Eric Butte backing his play. Dan Ferguson Langley Times