16 hours between games is tough on any player. But to travel from the island back to the mainland in between can be even more tiresome. The Rivermen and Bulldogs will cap off a busy weekend of Hockey today at 2 PM at the Langley Events Centre. It will be the sixth meeting of the season overall, with the Bulldogs having the advantage in the season series with three wins to Langley’s one. There was a tie between the teams on December 11th in Alberni Valley. We have seen a wide range of scores between the ‘Riv and the ‘Dogs. The first two games in the series were blowouts with both teams exchanging 7-1 finals in October. However, the Hockey has been much more tight in the last two contests, (4-4 tie, 3-2OT Alberni win).
In the last two games, the Rivermen have not gotten the result they would have hoped for. After winning on Wednesday in Surrey, they have dropped back to back games against Victoria and Cowichan Valley. The Bulldogs have had an even tougher time getting in the win column as they are currently on a five game losing streak. The past five games however, have been against playoff teams( Surrey three times, Cowichan and Coquitlam once). It’s been tough keeping the puck out of their net to boot as the opposition has racked up 25 goals for in the last five Bulldog games.
In the standings both clubs are neck and neck. Alberni Valley currently sits in seventh place with 40 points, while Langley is just a single point back at 39. The Rivermen do have a game in hand and with a win today can not only pass the Bulldogs, but the Grizzlies as well for sixth place in the Coastal Conference.
Today’s game will be a real interesting one. Both teams will be playing with a short bench once again. Last night the Rivermen played with 10 forwards last night due to an Austin Plevy suspension, and by the time the game was done their were only nine forwards with Evan Campbell leaving the game . Campbell will sit out today with an upper body injury, which will be a big loss, but the Rivermen do get the services of Austin Plevy back who should be the most fresh skater on the ice. The Bulldogs are playing under-manned as well. In Surrey last night they dressed 15 skaters and will likely do the same in today’s matinee. No one should be complaining about ice time by the time this weekend is over.
After a 6:30 AM wake up call, I write this as we are on the ferry back to the mainland where the Bulldogs will be waiting. For the second time this season the Rivermen played two games on the Island, only to come back for a home game against an island team. It just so happened that the Rivermen won the game on Sunday October 22nd, 1-0 against Powell River, which was their first loss of the season at the time. Although it will feel like another road game for Langley today, it won’t take long for the players to feed off of the home crowd in what we all hope will be another good Rivermen-Bulldogs battle.
October 15th @ Langley Events Centre- Langley 7 – Alberni Valley 1
October 27th @ Langley Events Centre- Alberni Valley 7 – Langley 1
November 12th @ Weyerhaeuser Arena- Alberni Valley 4 – Langley 0
December 11th @ Weyerhaeuser Arena- 4 -4 TIE
January 7th @ Weyerhaeuser Arena- Alberni Valley 3 – Langley 2 OT