The Rivermen continue to roll in a most impressive fashion. Despite a crazy start to the day Saturday, the team kept focus and composure and went about business dealing the Vipers a 5-2 loss, sweeping the home-and-home series with the RBC Cup hosts and earning sole possession of first place in the BCHL.
The Rivermen have points in 12 straight games, and haven’t lost in regulation since 2013. With an 8 point lead atop the Mainland division, securing the team’s first ever division title is the next order of business. That is far from done, especially with several huge games against the Prince George Spruce Kings on the very near horizon, but if the Rivermen keep playing the way they have been they will put themselves in prime position to achieve that goal.
This weekend saw the return of three key offensive bodies to the lineup, and we saw an immediate impact. Matt Ustaski was back to his normal self on the draw, winning countless key face-offs while generating offensive opportunities. Gage Torrel was eased back into the lineup but scored the game winner in double OT Friday night while Evan Anderson had a spectacular night Saturday with a PP goal (his first of the year in an injury-plagued season), an assist, and first star honours.
Tanner Johnson had an excellent game, good in his own end, and also had several great scoring opportunities in a building he loves to play in (last season’s visit saw the defenceman notch two goals including the double OT winner). Johnny did get an assist, however, on Kevan Kilistoff’s game winner late in the first period. Cam Bertsch slotted into the lineup for the Riv Saturday night and yet again the affiliate proved his worth using his speed to move the puck, while also winning several battles along the boards, certainly frustrating the Vipers on every shift.
Austin Azurdia, Will Cook, and James Robinson each also had a two-point night while AZ and Robby easily could have been included in the game’s three stars as could have Brock Crossthwaite who made 32 saves for his 21st win of the season.
With an assist on Cook’s power play goal, Mitch McLain now has points in an incredible 10 straight games as the Langley captain continues to lead the Riv in scoring now with 55 points, tied for eighth in the league.
The Rivermen have indeed made a statement to the league they are a force to be reckoned with.
Innovative Fitness 3 Stars
1 – Evan Anderson (1G, 1A, threatening on every shift)
2 – Liam Coughlin (1G, 1A)
3 – Will Cook (GWG, 1A)