The Langley Rivermen roll into Prince George tonight for the first time this season in a key division battle with first place on the line.
The 16-9-1-2 Rivermen are coming off two straight wins including a 4-0 shutout of the Chiefs in Chilliwack and sit just a single point behind the Mainland division leading 16-8-2-2 Spruce Kings. Prince George is also coming off a pair of wins including a 4-3 win over the Rivermen in Langley last week.
The Rivermen have reason to be confident heading into BC’s Northern Capital with a surging power play that has contributed four goals in the last three games going 5/9 in that span. The Langley penalty kill continues to clip along as the best in the BCHL at 87.5% while the Rivermen scored a pair of shorthanded goals Saturday.
Defensively, the Rivermen have tightened up, led by the play of goaltender Brock Crossthwaite who has a .969 save percentage, a goals against average of less than 1, two wins and a shutout in his last two starts. The Rivermen will remain without the services of Austin Azurdia who was injured late in the game against Salmon Arm last Friday.
The Spruce Kings boast the stingiest team defence in the division allowing just 71 goals against so far this season, third best in the league. Prince George holds the season series edge 2-1 with a pair of wins at the LEC but a win in regulation tonight for Langley would vault the Rivermen back into first in the division.
The Spruce Kings took a 4-3 regulation win over the Rivermen last Thursday in a game that saw both teams trade goals and the lead in a tight battle.
The Spruce Kings hold the season series edge 2-1 with the Rivermen picking up a point in an overtime loss at the LEC. Going back to the start of last season, the two teams have a very tight history with the Riv going 6-5-0-1.
Get the Edge Early: The Prince George Coliseum can be a fun place to play, that is, when you have the lead. It’s a loud building with enthusiastic fans but taking them out of the game early could be a huge advantage for the Rivermen.
Keep Skating: The Rivermen have their greatest success when they combine their speed with their power. In their last meeting with the Spruce Kings at least one penalty was drawn by the Riv thanks to outmuscling Prince George in the Spruce Kings zone.
Puck drop for the division showdown is set for 7:00pm at the Prince George Coliseum. You can watch the game live at http://bchl.fasthockey.com/login.php or listen at http://mixlr.com/langleyrivermenhockey