BCHL Game of the Week: Rivermen vs. Spruce Kings

Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications

Tonight – Langley Rivermen (18-9-9-2) at Prince George Spruce Kings (19-12-2-4)
7 p.m. at Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George
Presented by the BCIHL

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Previous Meetings

Langley leads the season series 3-0-2-0, with all five meetings between the teams being decided by one goal and three of five going to overtime. In the first matchup on Oct. 14 in Langley, Prince George tied the game 4-4 with 19 seconds left in the third but the Rivermen got the win on an Angus Crookshank winner late in the first overtime period. Langley won again at home on Oct. 28 by a score of 2-1. Crookshank again scored the eventual game winner early in the third period and Rivermen goalie Braedon Fleming stopped 18 of the 19 shots he faced in the win.

On Nov. 3 in Prince George the Spruce Kings got their first win of the season against Langley when Ben Poisson scored midway through the second overtime period to give his team the 4-3 win. The following night the teams again played into the second overtime when Ben Brar scored 41 seconds into the fifth period to give Prince George their second win in as many nights. Spruce Kings goalie Evan DeBrouwer made 33 saves in the win. In their most recent meeting last night, Langley prevailed 2-1 on the strength of third-period goals from Devin Leduc and an empty-netter from Trevor St. Jean.

Who’s Hot

Langley defenceman Colin Bernard comes into tonight with points in four straight games. He has one goal and three assists over that stretch. Brendan Budy leads the Rivermen with 33 points (12-21-33) in 31 games. Angus Crookshank and Nicholas Ponak lead the team with 14 goals each. Langley goalie Braedon Fleming is tied for the league lead with 15 wins. He’s also sixth in the BCHL with a 2.46 goals-against average and eighth with a save percentage of .914.

Prince George is led offensively by Ethan de Jong who is tied for 11th in BCHL scoring with 38 points (12-26-38) in 31 games. He’s followed closely by teammates Ben Brar, 34 points (15-19-34) in 37 games and Ben Poisson, 33 points (14-19-33) in 37 games. Layton Ahac is tied for 18th in league scoring among defencemen with 20 points (5-15-20) in 36 games. Spruce Kings goaltender Evan DeBrouwer is tied for the league lead with 15 wins. He ranks fifth in the BCHL with a goals-against average of 2.34 and sixth with a save percentage of .917.

What’s at Stake

Langley is in first place in the Mainland Division with 47 points. Prince George is three back of the Rivermen in second place in the division with 44 points and a game in hand. Including tonight, the two teams play three more times this season, including a matchup on the last day of the season on Feb. 25.

Coaches Comments

Prince George Spruce Kings head coach Adam Maglio on his team’s performance last night coming off the holiday break:

“I actually thought we played pretty well last night. We struggled to put the puck in the net, but I thought we had a solid team effort, the guys played hard. I thought we limited mistakes last night which I was a bit concerned with the time off. Overall, we didn’t get the result we wanted, but I thought we played a pretty good game.”

Maglio on facing Langley again tonight:

“They work hard. They’re a team that capitalizes on your mistakes. They have good forwards up front that can put the puck in the back of the net…We need to make sure we manage the puck through the neutral zone and make sure we’re getting it deep behind their D.

“I think we need a bit more traffic in front of their goalie. He’s played well against us this year. I think we’re certainly going to put a focus on winning the net-front battle at both ends of the ice tonight. Just sticking to our gameplan, I think if we play the way we did last night and clean up a little bit around our net and their net we’ll be OK tonight.”

Langley Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson on his team’s performance last night coming off the holiday break:

“I was actually pretty happy with the effort last night. The guys played hard, pretty responsible defensively. I think both teams showed a bit of rust at times, but all in all I thought it was a pretty entertaining game.”

Henderson on facing Prince George again tonight:

“Obviously they’re not going to be too happy about the loss last night, they’re going to be looking to bounce back, so they’ll be an inspired team. It will be another fun game.

“(We need to) just play our game. We play a fast, physical game and capitalize on our opportunities.”

ABOUT THE BCIHL

The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes six member teams: Eastern Washington University, Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit BCIHL.ca.