Playing three games in three days for the first time was a definate learning curve for the Rivermen. The rested Coquitlam Express handed the ‘Men a 3-1 loss on Sunday afternoon at the Poirier Sports & Leisure Complex. The Express were without seven regulars in the line-up including Alex Kerfoot, Zach Pryzbek, and Brandon Morley who were in Alberta for Team Canada West evaluation camp for the upcoming World Junior “A” Challenge. The home team did not seem to miss them as they put out a complete sixty minute effort.
The Express opened up the scoring 12 minutes into the game on a shorthanded effort from John Siemer. Siemer capitalized on a turnover in the Langley zone and buried a snap shot past James Barr. The Rivermen had a few opportunities in the opening period, but could not put one by the goaltender Cole Huggins. Shots on goal at one point was 7-2 for Coquitlam, but Langley came back and took a 10-9 advantage into the second period.
The second period was almost a carbon copy of the first as Coquitlam scored the lone goal. In the midst of a scramble, Justin Georgeson found a loose rebound in front of the goal mouth and knocked home the second goal of the game for the Express. Barr made a couple of nice stops with the Express jamming away at the net, but could not get a piece of Georgeson’s shot at the side of the post. Earlier in the period, Ben Butcher would receive a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a check from behind, but his team would kill it off.
With the Rivermen’s back against the wall in the third period, things did not get started off on the right foot with Mitch Nardi scoring. The Coquitlam captain jumped on a loose puck lying in the crease and scooped it past a sprawling James Barr. A few minutes later the Rivermen would get on the board for the first time on a goal from Mario Puskarich. The Florida native continued his fantastic weekend registering his seventh point of the weekend on a snap shot from the slot that caught Huggins by surprise. Former member of the Express, Evan Campbell, made the whole play happen as he set up Puskarich on a great pass from behind the net. Unfortunately for Langley that was all they would get and would stay behind Coquitlam in the standings.
Coquitlam would fire 37 shots towards Barr who was the losing goaltender, while Huggins would turn away 30 shots picking up his eighth win on the year.
It was a tough loss for the Rivermen as they just could not sustain any momentum in the attacking zone. Fatigue looked to be a factor with the long weekend the team had and will rest up for the next couple of days in preparation for Thursday night’s game against Surrey.