Despite a depleted roster, the Rivermen picked up a big two points in Victoria with a 2-1 win over the Grizzlies as the Riv now are alone atop the BCHL with 67 points.
Lyndon Stanwood was the story for the Rivermen Saturday night and Sunday it was his goaltending partner Brock Crossthwaite who made 31 saves as the Grizzlies outshot Langley 32-18 in large part because of four straight Victoria power plays in the second period.
The Grizzlies scored their lone goal of the game on the first of those four as two of the Fitzgerald triplets connected for the umpteenth time. Sunday marked the return of Leo to the lineup for the first time in months for the Grizzlies despite the fact Victoria Head Coach and GM Craig Didmon indicating he would not dress. But for the second straight game the Rivermen were able to limit turnovers and help clear pucks for their goaltender.
With his fifth of the season in the final minute of the first, Jackson Waniek made a nice play at the Victoria blue line to knock down the puck from mid-air, springing himself on a breakaway beating Nic Renyard over his left shoulder. The goal capped off a highly entertaining first period but the Grizzlies were able to steer momentum back in their direction quickly to start the second, capped off with Myles Fitzgerald’s goal.
The Grizzlies pressed even harder to start the third period dominating puck possession for the first five or six minutes. But the Riv weathered the storm and it paid off at the other end of the ice when Reichert took a nice Mitch McLain feed from below the goal line for his 19th of the year and fourth game winner.
With the assist, the Rivermen Captain has points in eight straight games. The Riv have points in 10 straight and boast an 8-0-1-1 record in 2014, still atop the Mainland division by 10.
Given the heavy schedule and number of bodies still out of the lineup, the 12 day break from game action couldn’t come at a better time. But right out of that break comes a big home-and-home test with the Vernon Vipers, another team looking for a potential first place division finish.
Innovative Fitness 3 Stars
1 – Brock Crossthwaite (31 Saves – A no brainer here, he was outstanding for his 19th win on the season)
2 – Jaden Schmeisser
3 – Jakob Reichert (1G – The game winner, and big Reichs had a number of other great offensive chances, a game changer again)