Saturday, September 19, 2015

Pre-Game Scope vs Langley Rivermen


Last Season’s Matchup
Goals For
Goals Against
0 for 9 (0%)
Power Play
1 for 6   (16.67%)
9 of 14 killed (64.29%)
Penalty Kill
6 of 8 killed (75%)
Hoffman/Epp: 1 Point
Leading Scorer
Butcher, Graham, Szeto: 2 points
2 Game Losing Streak
Current Streak
1 Game Winning Streak

Venue: Langley Events Centre
Game Time: 6pm
Season Series: 0-0-0-0

FUN FACT: This will be the first time the Langley Rivermen have ever hosted the Prince George Spruce Kings in a home opener.
Coming In:
Last weekend was one to forget to for the Prince George Spruce Kings. They played the Wenatchee Wild in a home double header, and wound up getting outscored 13-1 in the two games. Game 1 ended in a final score of 5-1, and Game 2 was 8-0 with Detroit Red Wings prospect Chase Perry picking up both wins and the one shutout. The Spruce Kings had a rough time on special teams as well, and currently rank last in both aspects (although to be fair it’s only two games in).  The power play continued the struggles it encountered in the pre-season, and went 0 for 9 against the Wild. The penalty kill was good on Friday, killing off 6 of 7 penalties, but dropped off Sunday allowing four goals on seven opportunities.
Corey Hoffman scored the lone goal on the weekend, with a centring pass aimed for Jake LeBrun that went off a defenceman’s leg and in. In the first game against the Wild, LeBrun was given a game misconduct for a hit from behind, and was suspended two games. He missed the 8-0 loss, and will now be out for Saturday’s game against Langley. The captain can’t be happy about missing the game, as it will be the first game against the Langley Rivermen since the Spruce Kings knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
This game will be a good test for the Spruce Kings, to see how they compete against the rest of their division, as it seems pretty solidified that Wenatchee will be a tough one to beat. Prince George acquired netminder Sam Tanguay as well this past week from the Aurora Tigers. Tanguay spent last year in the OHL where he played with the Sudbury Wolves, and as a 20 year old will be expected to come in, and produce some solid numbers for the team in net.
The Langley Rivermen don’t have a lot of work coming into this game, as their lone game of the season was last weekend against the Surrey Eagles. The Rivermen broke out in the first with four goals, and never looked back scoring twice in the third to take a 6-3 decision. Special teams were fairly average for Langley, as their power play finished at 17% and the PK had a 75% success rate.
In net for his third season with the team, Bo Didur stopped 33 shots for the win. Didur led the BC Major Midget League in GAA in 2012/2013, and has since been in the BCHL. The fact that he came to the league as a 16 year old is extremely impressive, especially since the fewest games he’s ever played is 24 games so he’s never had to sit and watch the majority of season’s from the bench. That experience will come in handy this year, and will help in his BCHL future as well!   
The game will be played in the Langley Event Centre, and should be bumping as it will be Langley’s season opener. Their average attendance last year was 842, but the first home game had 3,168 fans in the venue. This year should be no different, as the team has 2014 BC Country Music Awards Club Act of the Year The Chris Buck band in attendance. There are also reports that there will be a fireworks display at the game to kick things off, so things will be starting out with a bang!

Players to watch:

Spruce Kings:
After a quiet week in the two games last week, Cole Todd was visibly frustrated, so look for him to channel that energy this week against the Rivermen. Last year Todd had one assist in nine regular season games against Langley, but in the playoffs he put up four points in six games including the game winning assist in game one, and the game winning goal in game three. As a key member of the penalty kill Todd is going to be placed in lots of difficult situations, but as a veteran of two full BCHL season’s there is reason for the coaches to put their hopes in the North Van forward.

Entering his fourth year in the BCHL, Ben Butcher has high hopes set on him last year. Last year he had 29 points in 48 games, and then added another four in his six playoff appearances. He has also gotten off to a hot start this year with two goals in the first game against Surrey, including one on the power play. Butcher is a huge component to his team, and for the Spruce Kings to find success they will need to find a way to shut him down.

Broadcast Info:

This weekend, both game will be broadcast on BCHL FASTHockey and Mixlr. Game time on Saturday is 6pm but that could be pushed back a bit with opening game festivities/player announcements, and Sunday is an afternoon game with puck drop at 4.

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