Playing the two top teams in the BCHL standings, a sub-par 40 minutes sunk the Langley Rivermen.
The Rivermen led the Penticton Vees 2-0 after 20 minutes and were up 3-2 after two periods. But four third period goals did the team in as they lost 6-4. And Langley surrendered three first period goals their next game out, before battling back to earn the single point.
Zachary Bleuler’s third period goal helped the Langley Rivermen pick up a point in that second game, a 3-3 tie.
The junior A hockey team was in Chilliwack at the Prospera Centre for the BCHL’s annual Bauer Showcase, where all 17 teams play a pair of games over the course of five days.
Langley played Penticton on Thursday morning and Victoria on Saturday afternoon.
Victoria (4-1-1-1) and Penticton (5-1-0-0) are tied for the BCHL lead with 10 points apiece while Langley’s record sits at 2-2-0-1.
“That’s a game you have to win but it is early in the year. We are learning how to close games and that is part of the process,” said Langley head coach and general manager Bobby Henderson.
“Against Victoria, we got down early — I think our third period against Penticton kind of creeped into our first period against Victoria — but we settled down, buckled down and played pretty good hockey for the last two periods.”
Results aside, Henderson was happy with how his team played and now it is just a matter of delivering a full 60-minute effort.
“I thought we played pretty good hockey all weekend,” he said. “Lots of positives.”
“At this point in the season, we are not too concerned about the standings yet. It is about the process and doing the right things.”
Kaufman scored twice against Victoria and once against Penticton, giving him a team-leading five goals and nine points in five games this season.
“He is just competing. He is a veteran guy. It took him awhile to figure out the league last year. He had plenty of chances offensively last year,it was just a matter of having that confidence and finishing,” Henderson said.
“His second efforts are outstanding. And when he is getting chances, he is capitalizing on them.”
The coach said the line of Kaufman, Andrew Dumaresque and Ryan Barrow has shown great chemistry through the first few weeks.
Against Penticton, Zac Masson and Barrow had the other goals.
Bo Didur was in goal for the first game, making 29 saves.
Nick Trenciansky made 37 saves on 40 shots against Victoria.
The Rivermen are back in action on Wednesday (Sept. 28) when they face the Chilliwack Chiefs in Chilliwack. The team also plays at the Wenatchee Wild on Friday (Sept. 3) night.
Langley returns home to host the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Sunday afternoon (Oct. 2) at 2 p.m. at the George Preston Recreation Centre.