The Langley Rivermen will look to spoil Coquitlam’s home opener in meeting number one at the Rink on Poirier tonight. It will be a tough task as the Express sit in top spot in the Mainland Division after winning both of their games at the Showcase last weekend. Not only did they go undefeated, but they did so not allowing a single goal thanks to the strong goal tending of Cole Huggins who received player of the week honours.
The Rivermen have been chomping at the bit to get back to action after having five days to think about Sunday’s loss to Prince George. That makes tonight’s contest even more important as the next game wont be until next Saturday when the ‘Men have their home opener against Alberni Valley.
Expect some different line combinations for tonight’s game. In practice this week Ben Butcher got a promotion as he was playing centre between Puskarich and Reichert. Butcher is coming off a very strong weekend of hockey where he bagged two goals and will be fun to see how he does between two veteran players. Mitch McLain was flanked alongside Sutliffe and Azurdia. That line will be about speed, speed, and speed as those three can really skate. Scott Moyer has two new wingers in Ustaski and Thrussell and the Greiner, Cope, Robinson line stayed in tact after a very successful Showcase. I would not be surprised if Darren Hogg gets the start in-goal tonight. If he does not play then it would mean he would be sitting on the sidelines for more than a month as James Barr will surely start in next weekend’s home opener.
Looking at both rosters, the Express have 12 ‘vets in their line-up to the Rivermen’s 11. However, Coquitlam may still be without one of their top players in Alex Kerfoot who sat out last weekend with an injury. They still do have good depth up front though with the likes of Brady Shaw and John Siemer who combined for 61 goals last season. It is expected that Evan Campbell will miss his third straight game for the Rivermen with a lower body injury, but he is targeting a return for the home opener on the 22nd.
Tonight’s game has all the makings of a classic. It will be the first meeting of eight on the season and we already saw in pre-season that these two teams do not like each other one bit. As it stands right now the Rivermen are tied for the most goals for in the BCHL for with 12, but as I mentioned earlier they are facing a team that has yet to allow a single goal.
Unfortunately there will be no broadcast from the Rivermen tonight due to Team 1040 being in the building. Express broadcaster Eddie Gregory will have the call on Fast Hockey PPV if you would like to watch it. If you would like to listen for free you can visit http://www.teamradio.ca. The puck will drop at 7PM pacific.