Having not played on home ice in more than two weeks you could say Saturday’s game was worth the wait for the Rivermen who pulled out a convincing 5-1 win over their division rivals, the Surrey Eagles. The Riv swept the home-and-home series with their crosstown foes while notching their third straight win vaulting into a tie for first place in the Mainland division.
Austin Azurdia was the program feature player at the Langley Events Centre Saturday and showcased himself even more getting the Riv on the board just six minutes into the first picking up a loose puck at the top of the crease after a Will Cook wrap-around attempt, roofing it past Surrey’s Victor Adamo. Late in the first Mitch McLain made a beautiful feed to Jakob Reichert who beat Adamo stick side on a quick release to put Langley up 2-0 after one.
The Riv made it 3-0 as Tanner Johnson banked the puck off Eagle defenceman Zane Shartz and into the net midway through the second chasing Adamo from the crease after three goals on 9 shots with rookie Bo Didur appearing in relief.
Similar to Friday’s game in Surrey, the Eagles trailed by three in the third but got one back as Michael Roberts got his second of the season spoiling Brock Crossthwaite’s shutout on the Eagles’ 21st shot. But unlike Friday the Rivermen struck next as Will Cook roofed the puck just under the bar outwaiting Didur restoring the three goal lead. The Riv then connected on the power play with six minutes left in the period as Chris Forney’s shot from the point hit a Surrey defender before finding the back of the net to put Langley up by four.
Crossthwaite stopped 24 of 25 Surrey shots for his second win of the season. The Rivermen went 1/5 with the man advantage while killing off all six penalties against the BCHL’s best road power play. The loss for the Eagles was their first on the road this season as they fall to 5-5. Langley’s third straight win moves them to 6-3-0-1 on the year good for a share of first place in the division along with Prince George who lost Saturday night, 1-0 to Victoria.
McLain’s assist on Reichert’s goal gives him points in eight straight games while Azurdia’s two point night gives him 8 in the last five. James Robinson earned first star honours with three assists giving him five points in the last two games and extending his point streak to four.
The Rivermen can grab sole possession of first place in the Mainland division with a win over Alberni Valley Sunday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a regrettable start to the season sitting in last place in the Island division at 1-8-2. AV will be at the end of a three-day weekend road trip that began in Trail Friday night with a 3-3 tie followed by a 6-2 loss to the Vees in Penticton Saturday.
Puckdrop Sunday is set for 2:00pm at the LEC.