Luke Voltin’s stint with the Langley Rivermen was short, seven games.
Voltin, who was dealt to the Rivermen in the off-season by the Vernon Vipers, said he was initially upset when told by head coach-general manager Bobby Henderson that he had been traded again. However, his feelings quickly changed when he learned the destination.
“When he said I was traded to Penticton, then I was trying to hold back a smile on my face,” said Voltin, who scored a goal and an assist with the Rivermen.
Voltin enjoyed his time with the Rivermen and it didn’t hurt that they sit atop the Mainland Division with seven wins and three losses.
“I think Langley has a pretty good team this year,” said Voltin, who traded to Penticton on Oct.10 for the BCHL/CHL listing rights to defenceman Griffin Foulk. “We were on a hot streak when I left.”
Voltin debuted with the Vees on a line with Demico Hannoun and Dixon Bowen against the Chilliwack Chiefs the day he was dealt. His lone stat line in the Vees 5-1 win was five minutes for fighting with Olivier Arseneau in the third period.
“I think I can bring more of a physical side of the game,” said Voltin, who in 44 games with the Vipers last season chipped in 10 goals and 26 points. “Just getting in the dirty areas and going to the net hard. Getting shots on net. Just playing a fast pace.”
Voltin described Hannoun and Bowen as “such skilled players.”
“It’s pretty easy to fit in with them. They can find you and you don’t know that they can even see you,” said Voltin, who played for Team USA in the 2011 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. “It’s just fun playing with them. We’re definitely gelling together. Even in that first game I thought after the first couple shifts that we had had a little bit of chemistry and we were gelling a little bit.”
This weekend, Vees fans get their first chance to see Voltin as they host the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday at 7 p.m., then on Saturday, it is Voltin’s former team, the Rivermen at 6 p.m. Voltin said it won’t be weird to face Langley.
“It won’t be the first time I have had to face former teammates,” he said. “It’s almost like an extra boost before a game. You get up for it a little more. It’s fun to play those guys when you have been playing with them for a little bit.”
In the Spruce Kings, the Vees face a team that is in fifth-place in the six-team division with a 3-7-0-1 record. Their top scorer is Corey Hoffman, who has four goals in eight games. Away from the Prince George Coliseum, the Spruce Kings are 2-3-0-1 with both wins coming Oct.10 and 11 against Vernon and Salmon Arm, 4-3, respectively. The Spruce Kings lost a close game in Merritt Thursday night 4-3. Mitch Lipon scored the winner at 17:24.
When it comes to the Rivermen, Henderson likes how his team has been playing, but said a 4-2 loss to Chilliwack at home on Oct. 11 was a let down. In facing the Vees, the Rivermen studied their tendencies.
“They are pretty dangerous all the way through their lineup,” said Henderson. “All four lines have to be aware. Just make sure that we’re defending hard against everyone.”
The Rivermen’s success starts with their goaltending. Nickolas Trenciansky is 5-3-0 with a 2.60 goals against average and .918 save percentage, while Bo Didur is 2-1-0 and is second in the BCHL with a 1.46 goals against average. Anthony Brodeur of the Vees is ahead of him with a 1.37 mark. Didur also sports a .935 save percentage.
“We like to think we have pretty good team speed. We can create off the rush,” added Henderson. “Our leadership core has done a good job of helping the young guys’ transition.”
On the injury front, the Vees are still without Gabe Bast, who is out with a lower body injury. The Three Vees blog reported that Chris Gerrie won’t be in the lineup missing his second straight game as he sustained a lower body injury against West Kelowna on Friday. However, he may be able to return to the lineup against the Rivermen.