RIVERMEN GAMEDAY: Express @ Rivermen

THE RUNDOWN:

The Rivermen will get a good dose of home cooking this weekend as they are set to play three home games in a row this weekend. It all begins tonight with a tilt against the Coquitlam Express, on teddy bear toss night. Saying this one tonight is “big” is probably a bit of an understatement as the ‘Men currently are behind the Express by six points in the standings.  Both teams are coming off back to back losses over last weekend. Langley suffered back to back defeats to Trail and Penticton, while Coquitlam got swept by Prince George in both games up in PG.  It seems forever ago since the Rivermen were at home. Their last home game was on November 27th against Surrey and have only played two home games in the last 33 days. They will make up for lost time this weekend to say the least.

The ‘Men have struggled to keep the puck out of the net of late. James Barr is in a bit of a funk right now allowing 10 goals in his last two starts, but he has shown in the past that he can bounce back from tough outings. Cole Huggins, who has been great against the Rivermen this season, had a rough go up in PG last weekend allowing nine goals on 62 shots. It should be interesting if those two go up against each other here tonight.

THE STATS:

Standings:

Langley- GP: 28     Wins: 10     Losses: 13     Tie: 0     OTL: 5     Points: 25     GF: 88     GA: 100

Coquitlam- GP: 30     Wins: 15     Losses: 14     Tie: 0     OTL: 0     Points: 31     GF:90     GA: 89

Special teams:

Langley- PP- 10th place 24/130= 18.46%, PK- 5th place 25/140= 82.14%

Coquitlam- PP- 15th place 24/143= 16.78%, PK- 4th place 21/120= 82.50%

WHO TO WATCH FOR:

Langley: Mark Whiteley. He has been playing outstanding in the last couple of months. He is quietly on a five game point streak and leads the defense in goals and points. Ever since signing full-time with the Rivermen back a few months ago, he has been gaining more and more confidence each and every shift. He is a full-time power play guy on the first unit and plays a ton of short-handed time as well.

Coquitlam: Philip Zielonka. Since coming to the Express from the Omaha Lancers, he has fit in like a glove. The Montreal native has put up almost a goal per game average in 17 games and comes into tonight riding a ridiculous nine game goal scoring streak. In fact the last time he did not score was back on November 10th right here in Langley. It is not done there with regards to the Harvard commit. He has also recorded a point in 16 straight games. The last time he did not come away with a point was back on October 20th.

FINAL TID-BITS:

The ‘Men are officially at the halfway point of the season. I can assure you that they did not plan on being where they are right now when the season started. However, there is still another 28 games left on the schedule and lots of games left against divisional opponents. They still have the Express four more times after tonight and will play them two more times before December is even over.

This is a pivotal weekend for the Rivermen as these next three games will really tell us which direction the team is heading in 2013. The team has played it’s best hockey inside the Langley Events Centre and will have to continue that if they want any shot at the playoffs. It will be a 7:15 PM puck drop from the LEC. If you plan on coming to the game, do not forget your teddy bears!

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