It wasnt very pretty, but it sure was effective as the Langley Rivermen trapped their way to a 5-2 win over the Express Friday night.
The Rivermen set the tone for the night early by going to a 1-2-2 or 1-3-1 neutral zone set up with at times minimal fore checking pressure.
Their cause was helped when newcomer Aiden Cavallini set up the games first goal just 1:12 in by Austin Plevy on an odd man rush.
With the lead early on the road, it was game on for Langley to try and play the 'perfect road game'. They forced the Express to try and weave their way through the neutral zone and force them into turnovers.
It was effective early and pretty much all night for the visitors.
Langley added to their lead on the powerplay when Mike Tebbutt scored his first of the game at the lip of the crease to give Langley a 2-0 lead.
The goal chased starter Cole Huggins who was pulled in favour of Khaleed Devji. Langley's fast start also saw them jump out to a early 10-1 advantage in shots.
Devji's task was to shut the door the rest of the way to keep the Express within striking distance while trying to figure out Langley's trap. He made a few saves in the second half of the first period and in the second to keep the deficit at just two.
The Express did take some penalties that at times reflected their frustration with how challenging it was to generate offence.
Mike Tebbutt added his second of the game in the final minute of the second period on the powerplay when he had the puck bounce to him at the side of the net following a blast by Richard Coyne from the point off the end glass.
Tebbutt completed his hat-trick in the third when he was able whack a puck under Khaleed Devji.
5 on 5 the Express weren't able to generate much. They got their two goals on the night in the third period off the stick of Cody Michelle who scored his first two goals of the season. Those tallies had to be somewhat rewarding considering what he's been through this season after having his jaw broken in the pre-season.
Mario Puskarich sealed the game for Langley into an empty net.
The two teams will do it all over again Saturday night in the re-match at the Langley Events Centre.