RIVERMEN GAMEDAY: Smoke Eaters @ Rivermen

THE RUNDOWN:

Today’s game will be the second and final meeting of the year between the ‘Men and ‘Smokies. Last time they met on December 7th Trail won a 6-5 double OT thriller. Langley should have won that game as they had leads of 3-0 and 4-2, but Trail is a scrappy bunch and mounted a big third period comeback. It was amazing how many chances the Rivermen had in that game, but it was just one of those nights where the puck was not bouncing their way.

Both squads were in action last night. Trail was in Alberni Valley and lost 5-4, while Langley was in Surrey and took a 3-1 defeat. It was a good game from both teams, but the Rivermen ran into a hot goaltender in Michael Santaguida and could not capitalize on their opportunities.

It has been a long weekend for both Langley and Trail already. Today will mark the third game in three days for both of them and the ‘Smokies schedule did not do them any favours as they had to travel from the Island here to the Mainland very early this morning I imagine.

One area in Langley’s game that has really been noticeable of late is the power play. In the last three games they are 6/12 and are ranked second in PP percentage, which is the highest it has been all year. The power play units are doing a good job of keeping things simple and are throwing pucks on net and have been pouncing on rebounds. It will be interesting to see if they can feast on a Trail team that is last in penalty kill percentage.

If there is one thing that needs to improve for the Rivermen it would be their starts. The opposition has opened up the scoring five games in a row. The coaching staff is aware of it and will look to change that today.

THE STATS:

Standings:

Langley: 4th place in Mainland, GP: 40     Wins: 17     Losses: 17     Tie: 1     OTL: 5     Points: 40

Trail: 5th place in Interior, GP: 46     Wins: 19     Losses: 25      Tie: 0     OTL: 2     Points: 40

Special teams:

Langley: PP- 2nd place @ 22.22%,      PK- 10th place @ 80.10%

Trail: PP- 16th place @ 14.45%,           PK- 16th place @ 76.38%

WHO TO WATCH FOR:

Langley: Viktor Dombrovskiy. Langley’s youngest player has been getting more and more confidence each and every shift he is out there. Watch #22 in blue today very closely and you will see poise and patience beyond his years. He makes very smart plays and although he is under-sized, his brain makes up for it.

Trail: Luke Sandler. He is in the running for the BCHL player of the week already as he has been on a rampage this weekend. The Chicago native has four goals in his last two games and has hit the 20 goal plateau and sits second in team scoring with 35 points.

FINAL TID-BITS:

Another big two points is up for grabs for both teams. Trail currently sits fifth in their division and are looking to catch Salmon Arm for fourth and are five points back. Meanwhile, Langley is five points up on Coquitlam and seven back of Prince George. Those two are squaring off against each other today as well.

I would expect Darren Hogg to get the start in-goal today. James Barr has played both games this weekend and was very good, but I would think he will get a rest and make way for Hogg today.

It will be a 2:00 PM puck drop from the LEC and can be seen live on Fasthockey.com or on ustream.tv. I hope you all bring your skates to the game to skate with the team afterwards.

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