Saturday, January 4, 2014

Rivermen 5 Eagles 1

Four unanswered goals paced the Langley Rivermen to a 5-1 victory over the Eagles Saturday at Langley Events Centre.

Surrey newcomer Anthony Conti, acquired earlier in the day from Penticton in a trade for 20 year-old Nic Pierog, opened his Eagles account as Surrey dropped its sixth consecutive game against Langley.

The Rivermen opened the scoring just past the four-minute mark thanks to Kevan Kilistoff, but his goal was quickly cancelled out by Conti, who on an Eagles power-play, converted a feed from behind the net by Danton Heinen on his second shift with his new team.

But the Surrey momentum was short-lived, as later in the frame Matt Ustaski converted on a rebound in front of Eagle netminder Bo Didur, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead at the break.

Langley added to their lead in the second period, first through Jakob Reichert, who strode through the Eagles defense, lifting a back-hander into the top corner 2:24 into the frame.

Tempers then flared when Eagles defenseman Michael McEachern took exception to a hard hit from Langley d-man Tanner Johnson, challenging him to a fight, while at the other end of the ice, Surrey's Danny Vlanich and Langley's Nathan Craft engaged in a scrap of their own. Vlanich and Craft were given game misconducts.

Langley's James Robinson put the hosts up 4-1 at the 14:08 mark, re-directing a one-timer from linemate Gage Torrel on a Rivermen power-play.

Will Cook closed out the scoring 5:35 from time in an otherwise unmemorable third period, as the Eagles were handed their first loss of 2014.

Brock Crossthwaite stopped 21 of 22 Eagles shots to record the win, while Didur made 21 saves for Surrey.

My Three Stars:
1. Matt Ustaski, Langley
2. Zach Urban, Langley
3. Will Cook, Langley

Up Next: The Eagles head north for a pair of games next Friday and Saturday, January 10th and 11th, against the Spruce Kings in Prince George.

Pierog To Penticton: The Eagles announced earlier in the day the team had acquired Conti and future considerations for 20 year-old Pierog, who put up 26 goals in 37 games this season in Surrey. The move is certainly one with the future in mind: Conti, 18, still has one full season of junior hockey to play before he heads to Alaska-Anchorage in the fall of 2015.

Pierog, on the other hand, joins a well-built Vees squad that currently leads the Interior division. He will be a terrific, veteran addition to a squad looking to claim its second Fred Page Cup in three years, but most definitely will be missed around the South Surrey Arena. Good luck Nic!

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