DEER LAKE Darren Langdon wasn’t the least surprised to hear some fans believe the Western Royals can achieve success in Clarenville this weekend.
Langdon will lead the Western Royals into the thick of battle this weekend when a best-of-seven semifinal series with the Clarenville Caribous resumes this weekend with three games at the Clarenville Events Centre. The series is knotted at one game apiece after the Caribous won the opener 6-2 last Saturday night before the hometown Royals rallied back the following afternoon to take a 6-4 victory and a split at home.
An unofficial online poll conducted by The Western Star earlier this week revealed there are those who believe the Royals will prevail. Monday’s web poll asked now that the Royals secured a split in the first weekend do you think they can win one of three games in Clarenville to force the series back to the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex for Game 6.
The end result was 67 per cent said yes the Royals will play again on home ice, while 22 per cent didn’t think the Royals could handle the task and 11 per cent felt the Royals didn’t have a chance.
“They definitely got a good team, but I think we can take one and maybe two games out there,” Langdon said bluntly Thursday when asked to comment on the poll. “They are a fast team but we have speed too, so we just have to contain (Ryan) Desrosiers, (Andrew) Sweetland and a few others. I can’t see us winning two games as being impossible.”
Langdon played a key role in the Royals earning a split at home, crashing and banging and spending his afternoon getting chummy with Caribous puckstopper Jason Churchill as he racked up three goals to lead the team to a hard-fought 6-4 win in Game 2 in Deer Lake.
“I was just in the right spot at the right time,” he said with a chuckle of his hat trick in Game 2. “A couple of bounces went our way and that’s what you need. We got to create chances by going to the front of the net and being physical.”
Langdon believes the Royals can’t afford to play a free-wheeling style of hockey against the Caribous. He believes it will be a tough and tumble approach that will ultimately push the Royals past the Caribous.
“We’re more physical than them and we got to start using it to our advantage,” the hulking winger said. “When we play run and gun with them obviously their offence is much better than us and our physical game is so much better than theirs so we have to use it to our advantage and limit their chances.”
A solid effort in the defensive end of the rink is also critical, he said, and that meant forwards like himself being committed to come back and help out a defence corps that has taken on the look of a scrappy group who will need to keep it simple instead of trying to be pretty against the Caribous.
“We got to be solid in our own and just wait for our chances,” he said.
The Royals will clash with the Caribous in Game 3 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Clarenville Events Centre, while Game 4 is Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Game 5 is a Sunday matinee scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the CEC.
Langdon is looking forward to a festive atmosphere at the Hodder for Game 6. It could very well be the game that sends the Caribous packing in the first round.