The Langley Rivermen spoiled Chilliwack’s BCHL home opener Saturday night and handed the Chiefs their first loss of the 2016-17 season.
After opening the season with back-to-back three point outings, Jordan Kawaguchi was held off the scoresheet for the first time. With the captain neutralized the rest of the offence struggled. The shots were there (32) but the finish wasn’t as the Chilliwack fell 4-1.
The Chiefs were the better team by far in the opening frame, but they could only slip one puck past Langley keeper Bo Didur.
Second-year forward Kohen Olischefski did that at 7:16, beating the veteran keeper on a wrister from the right wing. The Abbotsford native let it fire from above the faceoff dot, sneaking the puck inside the far post for his second of the season.
Anthony Vincent and Connor McCarthy drew the assists.
Didur was a busy guy, with 15 shots fired his way.
David Jankowski almost doubled the Chilliwack lead with three minutes to go, but Didur was bailed out by his left goal-post.
The only goal of the second period belonged to the visitors.
The Chiefs ran into penalty trouble late in the middle frame when back to back minors to Powell Connor (roughing) and Kale Kane (cross-checking) put them two men down.
Working with the five-own-three, Langley’s Ryan Barrow camped in front of Chilliwack netminder Mark Sinclair and got his stick on a Cam Ginnetti bullet. The re-direct got through Sinclair to knot the game at 1-1.
Barrow struck again 1:52.
With Chilliwack’s Linden Hora in the sin bin and the Rivermen on another power play, Barrow was left alone to skate the puck off the left-wing wall and into the slot. The Alberta native lazered a shot past Sinclair to give Langley the lead.
The Rivermen added another at 9:05, with defenceman Francis Boie leaning into a shot and beating Sinclair with a long-range bomb.
Chilliwack’s last gasp came on a late power play, with head coach Jason Tatarnic pulling Sinclair for two theoretical minutes of six-on-four. Twice, Langley almost iced the game with empty netters. The second time Chiefs D-man Colin Bernard was forced to pull down a Rivermen forward, ending the power play and any comeback hopes.
Langley’s Boie wrapped up the scoring with a last-minute empty netter.
The three stars were Barrow (first), Didur (second) and Anthony Vincent (Chilliwack, third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Kale Kane.
Announced attendance was 3,505.