Jakob Reichert and Matt Ustaski owned the first period Thursday night leading the way for the Riv to earn their fourth win in their last five games returning to sole possession of first place in the BCHL standings.
The 5-3 win in Prince George is also the third victory in four games for the Riv at the Coliseum, taking a 4-3-1 lead in the season series. Both earning three points, Ustaski and Reichert found each other for first period goals. Reichert now has 20 on the season while Ustaski has 28 as he found the empty net in the final minute of the third for his sixth goal in his last three games. Kevan Kilistoff had a pair of helpers as he extends his current points streak to five games. And with his 14th late in the first period, Tyson Witala kept his hot streak going with seven points in his last four, scoring his first goal with the Rivermen in his hometown and against his former club. Gage Torrel saw Witala streaking towards the net and fed the puck over which banked off his skate and in.
Even short-manned, the Spruce Kings put up quite a fight and made the Rivermen work late in the game to earn the two points. Austin Azurdia and James Robinson had a strong third period and got rewarded finishing off a hard working shift setting up captain Mitch McLain for his 23rd which turned out to be the game winner.
Early in the second period, Darien Craighead and Braiden Epp squared off in Craighead’s first BCHL fight, a bout he certainly earned the decision in. While Craighead might not be the first you’d think of to dance like that, it’s an indication of guys stepping up to fill a role they may not be accustomed to. We’ve seen it throughout the year with lengthy injuries, others have stepped up to fill the void. It’s a good sign for sure heading into playoffs. But before the post-season, there’s still one more score to settle and that’s another matchup with the Spruce Kings Friday night, the final regular season game for both teams. It will be the ninth meeting between the division rivals, but it might not be the last.
Innovative Fitness Langley 3 Stars
1 – Matt Ustaski (2G, 1A worked hard and again got rewarded for it)
2 – Braiden Epp (1G)
3 – Jakob Reichert (1G, 2A dominant play especially in the first period and was again one of the hardest working fowards on the ice)