It was an exit the Rivermen thought would come much further down the road. After finishing the regular season as the top team in the entire BCHL, the Riv knew they had the pieces in place for a long playoff run. But it just wasn’t meant to be.
Full credit to the Coquitlam Express who after knocking off the higher seeded Spruce Kings, did the same to the top seeded Rivermen with a 5-3 win in game six. Much like the series itself, game six was a fast-paced, energy filled game, right from the opening face off. The teams traded early chances until Ryan Rosenthal put a one-timer into the Rivermen net at the 10:30 mark. The Riv answered right back however with Mitch McLain’s fourth, from Tanner Johnson who had another strong night with two points, tying the game at one. Then with just under four minutes to go, Brendan Lamont tipped in a Cameron Marks shot to re-take the lead for the Express.
The Rivermen stated the second on the power play and just 30 seconds in, Will Cook got his third of the playoffs from James Robinson and Jakob Reichert, tying the game again. The Riv’s strong second continued just five minutes later when Johnson got his third of the playoffs and second in as many nights, blasting a shot bar-down past Gordie Defiel, also on the power play to give the Rivermen the lead, 3-2. The Riv power play went 2/3 in game six while the penalty kill was perfect again going 3/3.
But the lead couldn’t hold as the Express came out with ferocity in the third, scoring three straight and ending the Rivermen’s season, Canon Pieper getting the winner with another re-direction in front of the crease.
I’ll have many more thoughts in the coming days about the great season that was. It has been a pleasure to work with this team, with all the players and staff. A year full of great memories, and great accomplishments too.
Innovative Fitness Langley 3 Stars
1 – Ryan Rosenthal
2 – Corey Mackin
3 – Tanner Johnson (1G, 1A, strong again in the defensive zone and used his skating and speed to add even more on offence)