When the Chilliwack Chiefs roll into the LEC for the final time this season there’s a whole lot more on the line for the Rivermen than a win over their division rivals. A win (a single point actually) will clinch the first ever division title for Langley as the Riv come into Friday night with a 10 point lead over Prince George.
With 26 out of their last possible 30 points, the Rivermen also hold down first place overall in the BCHL and have a league title in sight as well which would secure home ice throughout the playoffs.
The Chiefs have been officially eliminated from the playoffs for some time now but their play has been fairly solid with wins in three of their last five games. Goal scoring hasn’t been a problem for Chilliwack with 26 goals in their last five games. Stopping pucks from going into their own net however is another story as the Chiefs have allowed more goals against (257) than any other team in the BCHL.
As scary as the Rivermen’s offensive depth has been for the opposition this season, the return of Evan Anderson has made it that much more deadly. Andy has five points in his last four games including a two-assist night Tuesday against Coquitlam where he was dynamite on a line with Tyson Witala and Gage Torrel.
Expect a few lineup changes for the Riv tonight as Jakob Reichert is serving a one-game suspension for receiving his fifth game misconduct of the season against the Express. Marcus Vela is also expected to miss tonight’s game listed as day-to-day. Darien Craighead may make his return to the lineup after missing the last six and Austen Bietenbeck is also back to health.
The Rivermen needed overtime back on January 24th to come away with a 5-4 win over the Chiefs at the LEC. James Robinson scored the winner just 37 seconds into 4-on-4 as both he and Austin Azurdia had a one goal, three assist night.
The Rivermen lead the season series with the Chiefs 7-1 having won the last seven straight over Chilliwack by a combined 31-14 margin.
Focus on the Game: With a division title and league title up for grabs and playoffs looming, the Rivermen need only focus on the task immediately at hand and not get distracted by anything else.
Start the Way You Finish: The Rivermen had a bit of a slow start Tuesday night, and actually had a similar scenario the last time the Chiefs were in town. With Chilliwack playing good hockey of late, being sluggish out of the gate could have its consequences.
Puck drop is 7:15pm at the LEC. Watch the game live at http://bchl.fasthockey.com/login.php or listen at http://mixlr.com/langleyrivermenhockey/me/