Facing a virtual must-win — down two games to zero with games three and four on the road — the Langley Rivermen took a big first step into getting back into the BCHL Mainland Division finals.
The Rivermen scored on their first shift, a wraparound goal from Jakob Reichert 22 seconds in, and never looked back, slowing the Coquitlam Express 5-0.
The game was played on Monday (March 17) at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre and cuts the Express lead to two games to one in the best-of-seven series.
Coquitlam won the first two games in Langley 4-2 and 2-1 as goaltender Gordie Defiel stopped 72 of the 75 shots he faced.
Entering the game, Defiel was tops among all post-season goalies in both goals against and save percentage, but game three was a different story as the Rivermen finally got to him, scoring five times on 24 shots.
After Reichert’s goal on the opening shift, the Rivermen killed off a penalty and then awarded a power play of their own, doubled their lead as Will Cook returned to the line-up and quickly made an impact, scoring for the 2-0 lead.
And before the period was out, Kevan Kilistoff had made it 3-0.
Austin Azurdia made it 4-0 with Langley’s second man-advantage goal before captain Mitch McLain rounded out the scoring in the second period.
Neither team generated much in the third period.
Brock Crossthwaite stopped all 28 shots for his second post-season shutout.
Reichert and Kilistoff — both Langley Minor Hockey Association products — and Azurdia finished with a goal and assist apiece while James Robinson chipped in with a pair of assists.
Game four of the series goes tonight (March 18) with game five back at the Langley Events Centre on March 20.