Express vs. Rivermen: Game Preview

Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications

Tonight – Coquitlam Express (3-16-1-1) at Langley Rivermen (11-4-9-0)

7 p.m. at George Preston Arena in Langley.

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Previous Meetings

Coquitlam leads the season series 2-1. The two teams split a back-to-back in early October with the Express winning the first game 2-1 at home on the strength of a late winner by Colby Pederson and 41 saves from goaltender Reid Cooper. Langley won the following night at home after forward Angus Crookshank scored with 17 seconds left in the third period to give the Rivermen the 3-2 win. On Oct. 13 the two teams faced off for the third time in a week with Coquitlam taking the game 2-1 on a Lucas Wong overtime winner.

Who’s Hot

Langley forward Brendan Budy comes into the game in a tie for eighth in BCHL scoring with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 24 games. Angus Crookshank is second on the team with 19 points including a team-leading 12 goals, good enough for a tie for seventh in the league. Spencer Berry is in the top-20 in BCHL defenceman scoring with 15 points (one goal, 14 assists) in 22 games.

Coquitlam’s scoring leaders are Eric Linell (eight goals, seven assists) and Alex Ambrosio (five goals, 10 assists) with 15 points each. Linell’s eight goals are also tops on the team.

What’s at Stake

The Rivermen lead the Mainland Division with 31 points and will look to put some distance between them and the second-place Chilliwack Chiefs who have 28 points. Langley is also trying to inch closer to the league-leading Vernon Vipers (36 points) and the Trail Smoke Eaters (35 points).

The Express are at the bottom of the Mainland Division and tied for last in the league with the Cowichan Valley Capitals. They are trying to turn things around against a Rivermen team that they’ve already gotten five of a possible six points from in their three games this year.

Coaches Comments

Langley Rivermen coach Bobby Henderson on his team’s early-season success:

“I think it’s more or less a balanced attack. We’ve got good goaltending, both guys have been very steady for us back there, our defence core has done a great job of keeping the shot count down, they’re defending hard, and we’re getting some opportunistic scoring.”

Henderson on facing the Express tonight:

“Their forward group is as thick as any in the league. I think it’s a matter of time before these guys start having success…They’re a team that’s constantly getting better and they have one of the best coaches in the league with Barry Wolff, he’s always got some tricks up his sleeve, so we’re going to have to be on top of our game if we want two points.

“We’ve got to play a fast game, we’ve got to be aggressive in all three zones. We like to play a physical game, we have to be on the body constantly and have that commitment to team defence.”

Coquitlam Express coach Barry Wolff on turning things around after his team’s tough start this season:

“Hard work solves everything…We’ve had a lot of one-goal losses and some untimely penalties on our part. We just need to be better in every aspect of the game.”

Wolff on facing the division-leading Rivermen tonight:

“They’ve got some very skilled players up front, their defence has been solid for them…we definitely need to bring our A-game if we want to have a chance at getting the two points.

“We need to be on the defensive side of our checks. Those guys have the ability to score goals when you let them shoot freely, so we’ve got to be strong defensively there. On the other side, we’ve had a little trouble scoring goals at times. We need more focus around the net and to make sure we get to the paint looking for the loose rebounds and finding a way to bang them home.”