Langley Rivermen were behind 5-1 but came back to win against the Chilliwack Chiefs in a Sunday night (Oct. 6) home game that saw forward Brendan Budy pick up a hat trick, an assist, and win the shootout at George Preston Arena.
“It wasn’t exactly textbook,” is how how Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson described the victory.
But a win is a win, and this one happened to show how well the team can play under pressure, he observed.
“They showed some real character ” Henderson told the Langley Advance Times.
“They’re really coming together.”
Budy was the key to the Rivermen turnaround, the coach commented.
“He got the comeback going.”
Henderson also had praise for goaltender Braedon Fleming, saying the netminder “got better as the game went on.”
After the Chiefs scored three times in the first period, Langley answered back at the seven minute mark of the second, with Budy scoring his fourth of the season.
Chiefs replied with two before Budy scored his second of the game to end the second period with the Chiefs ahead 5-2.
Third period was all Rivermen with goals by Tristan Fraser, Tanner Tomzak, and Budy who scored his third of the game to draw the Rivermen even with the Chiefs and force overtime.
In the shootout, Chilliwack goalie Mathieu Caron thwarted Kalen Szeto and Joseph Musa, but Budy got past him for the decisive strike.
Final score was 6-5, and the Chiefs winning streak was ended at five games.
Chiefs head coach Brian Maloney had praise for Budy.
“He’s a smaller player, but you can tell Brendan knows how to play in the hard areas,” Maloney said.
“He knows what it takes to compete at the next level and he’s that much hungrier at this level.”
READ MORE: No place like home for Budy
Rivermen were coming off back-to-back wins in the 2019 BCHL Showcase Festival presented by Bauer from Oct. 2 to 5.
Langley began the annual showcase event on Wednesday, Oct. 2, with a matchup against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, played in Chilliwack.
Rivermen beat the Island Division leaders 4-2 win with goals from Will Dow-Kenny, Devin Leduc, Riley Wallack, and Jake Livingstone. Kalen Szeto and Kaeden Patrick each added two assists of their own.
Next up, the Powell River Kings on Thursday, Oct. 3, which ended with another Langley win by a score of 7-1.
Budy notched a goal and four assists for five points. Other scorers included Livingstone, Leduc, Tanner Versluis, Jonathan Stein, Ryan Helliwell, and Joseph Musa.
In the annual showcase, each BCHL team plays two games that count in their standings.
Previously an event for scouts from the NCAA and NHL to get an up-close look at BCHL talent, the showcase has expanded to two venues, Chilliwack, for Lower Mainland and Island teams, and Penticton, which hosts interior teams as well as a Hockey House that includes other levels of hockey in B.C.
Tuesday (Oct. 8), the Rivermen were in Kelowna to play the West Kelowna Warriors.
Their next home game is Saturday, Oct. 12 against the Coquitlam Express. Game time is 7:15.
Tickets for home games can be purchased online at HappsNow.com, at the George Preston Recreation Centre “The Lodge” box office 45 minutes before puck drop, and by calling 604-229-2352 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
– with files from Eric Welsh, Black Press Media