The Langley Rivermen bring a three-game win streak into Penticton tonight in a battle of division leaders as they face the Vees.
The 17-9-1-2 Rivermen are coming off a 2-1 win in Prince George Wednesday and are in the midst of a tough schedule that sees them play four games in five days including each of the next three. Langley’s current win streak has seen stellar play in their own zone allowing just three goals against as Brock Crossthwaite boasts a .969 save percentage and a GAA of less than 1 in his last three starts.
The 16-6-1-3 Vees have had a mixed bag of results the last couple weeks coming off a 3-2 win over West Kelowna on Tuesday but had dropped a pair to Coquitlam last Friday and Saturday. Expect an interesting special teams battle as Penticton boasts the best power play in the BCHL at 23.3% while the Rivermen have the league’s best penalty kill with an 87.8% success rate.
It’s the final regular season meeting between the Rivermen and Vees who played to a 1-1 tie at the Langley Events Centre in late October. Tonight is also a homecoming of sorts for Penticton native and former Vee Zach Urban who has 8 assists in 29 games so far this season.
The Riv are still without the services of forwards Evan Anderson and Austin Azurdia who remain sidelined with injuries. But even without two the top offensive talents, others have been stepping up in big ways, perhaps most notably James Robinson who has a five game point streak while Jakob Reichert is riding a four game streak including a key second period goal Wednesday night in Prince George. While Gage Torrel didn’t factor in on the score sheet against the Spruce Kings, the 19-year old has seven points in his first six games with the Riv.
The Rivermen played to their only tie of the season against the Vees back on October 20th in an entertaining battle that saw over 80 combined shots on goal as Steve Myland made 44 saves in an outstanding performance for the Riv.
Tonight marks the first and only meeting between the two in Penticton as Langley is still in search of their first franchise victory against the Vees dropping both matchups last season by a 5-1 margin
Stay Disciplined: As mentioned, the Vees boast the best power play in the BCHL and while the Rivermen’s penalty kill has been very good, there’s no sense in testing it too often against a Penticton team that has only lost at home once in regulation all season.
Start With a Bang: October’s battle at the LEC had its fair share of physicality and the Riv can assert themselves early by hitting early and often against a smaller club.