It’s early in the BCHL season, but the Langley Rivermen are causing major headaches for the Chilliwack Chiefs.
For the second week in a row, the junior A club hit the road to take on their Coastal Conference rival. For the second week in a row the Rivermen scored a lot of goals and won the game. The first time it was a 7-5 final. This time it was 6-3 in a Saturday-nighter at the George Preston Arena.
Langley rudely welcomed Chiefs goaltender Cole Savage to the league, beating him six times on 27 shots.
After AJ Lacroix opened the scoring for Chilliwack, Chase Sandhu and Tyler Schleppe replied for the Rivermen, who took a 2-1 lead into period two. Ethan Bowen scored in the middle frame for the Chiefs, but his tally was sandwiched between two more Schleppe snipes.
Chilliwack defenceman Abram Wiebe collected his first BCHL goal 1:23 into the final frame, briefly getting the Chiefs within one at 4-3, but a Riley Wallack power play goal at 3:19 gave Langley breathing room and Owen Kim iced the win with a last-minute empty netter.
Chilliwack out-shot Langley 28-27, and Rivermen goalie Ajeet Gundarah was the game’s second star. Schleppe was the first star and Chiefs forward Lacroix was the third star.
As much of a problem as Langley has been through two weeks, the Coquitlam Express have been a great opponent for Chilliwack.
The Chiefs were in Coquitlam Friday, skating to a 5-2 win at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre. They beat the Express 7-2 on home ice the previous weekend.
Chilliwack’s Frankie Carogioiello continued his hot start to the 2021-22 BCHL season, popping two pucks past Coquitlam keeper Connor Mackenzie. Lacroix also had a pair and Abbotsford product Dawson Good netted his first of the season on a second period power play.
Chilliwack out-shot the Express 34-27. Chiefs goaltender Grant Riley made 25 saves for the win.
Three stars were Carogioiello (first), Good (second) and Coquitlam’s Carter Cochrane (third).
The Chiefs come out of the weekend with a record of 2-2, good for fifth place in the nine-team Coastal Conference standings.
Through two weekends of play, there are five teams — Penticton, Salmon Arm, Nanaimo, Victoria and Langley — that have yet to lose a game. At the other end of the spectrum, the Wenatchee Wild, winless with two overtime losses, Merritt Centennials (0-4), Powell River Kings (0-4) and Cowichan Capitals (0-5) are still looking for their first victories.
Carogioiello is currently third in the BCHL with five goals, one behind Langley’s Schleppe and three behind Victoria’s Matthew Wood, who has a league-leading eight.
It’s BCHL Showcase week, with Chilliwack welcoming all 18 of the league’s teams to the Chilliwack Coliseum this weekend.
The Chiefs are the home team Friday night (Oct. 22) for a game against Merritt, and will be the road team Saturday (Oct. 23) for a match with the Vernon Vipers.
Both games are 7:30 p.m. starts.
See bchl.ca or chilliwackchiefs.net for more info.
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