After suffering their first shutout Wednesday night 3-0 to the Chilliwack Chiefs and ending a six-game win streak, the Langley Rivermen begin a refresh with a true litmus test as the Penticton Vees are in town.
It’s a battle of division leaders with the Vees coming off a 3-2 regulation win over the West Kelowna Warriors to vault into first place in the Interior with a 10-3-0-1 record. The 9-4-0-1 Rivermen hold a single point lead over Coquitlam for tops in the Mainland division after their first loss in the month of October. Wednesday’s loss proved just how good Langley’s penalty kill is. At 90.6% it’s the stingiest on home ice of any team in the BCHL. But while going 8/9 against the Chiefs, the Riv know they can’t continue to give up that many power play chances especially against a team like the Vees who boast the league’s third best road PP at 24.1%. Penticton also comes to town with a league best +22 goal differential through just 14 games and a BCHL leading team GAA of 1.93.
Tonight marks the first of two meetings between the Vees and Rivermen this season and the only regular season matchup at the Langley Events Centre. Last season the Riv fell 5-1 in both meetings with the Vees and in fact the Rivermen franchise is still searching for its first regular season win against Penticton.
Stay out of the box: As already mentioned the Riv’s PK has been excellent so far this season but if they give Penticton enough chances on the power play it could be trouble. Last night the Vees went 2/3 against West Kelowna.
Shots: I don’t mean to sound like a broken record but the Rivermen simply need to put more shots on goal. They were outshot once again in Wednesday’s loss to Chilliwack and seeing as though the Vees rarely let in more than 2 goals per game, the more pucks sent toward their goal the better.
Play physical: The Riv boast one of the bigger teams in the BCHL yet have not yet reached their full potential when it comes to out-muscling the opposition. Hit hard and often and good things should come of it.
Puck-drop tonight is 7:15 at the LEC. A couple of great offers will greet you at the door as you’ll get automatic free entry into tomorrow’s game against Prince George. Tonight is also the Rivermen’s turn to host the league’s “Five Hole for Food” inititaive. Bring non-perishable items to support our local food bank and help beat Nanaimo’s record of over 2,300 pounds!