Philippe Johansson picked the perfect night to find his offensive spark.
The rugged rearguard scored his first goals since his Eagles debut, putting up a hat-trick and a five-point night as Surrey knocked off the Langley Rivermen 7-5 Saturday, evening their best-of-seven Mainland division semi-final at two games apiece.
Surrey scored four power-play goals, and six of the Eagles' seven tallies came from defensemen in the most offensively potent of the four games in the first-round series so far.
Surrey started early, with Johansson snapping home a point shot inside four minutes before Chase McMurphy banged home a loose puck at the side of Brock Crossthwaite's net to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead before the ten-minute mark. Neither side could capitalize on four first-period power-plays as the Eagles went into the intermission ahead by two.
Surrey wasted no time in adding to their lead, with defenseman Kale Bennett hammering home a five-on-three point blast 2:30 into the second to make it 3-0, chasing Crossthwaite in the process, seconds after he'd inadvertently put his side down two men by flipping the puck over the glass in his right-wing corner.
Matt Dawson gobbled up a rebound and beat replacement netminder Lyndon Stanwood 50 seconds later, putting a loose puck past the 20 year-old goaltender after forward (and birthday boy) Joe Drapluk drove the net from the right side.
Langley opened their accounts midway through the middle frame through former Eagle Kevan Kilistoff, but Johansson quickly replied with his second goal of the game as the two sides continued to trade goals as though they were going out of style.
Langley would add two more tallies before the intermission to slim Surrey's lead to 5-3: first, Jakob Reichert tucked in his own rebound, before linemate Matt Ustaski scored his series-leading sixth goal of the playoffs 4:30 from the break.
Johansson completed his hat-trick on an early third-period power-play, accepting a pass from Bennett and beating Crossthwaite (who had replaced Stanwood again late in the second period) from the left point. Bennett would add his second of the game on a one-timer to increase Surrey's lead to 7-3 before Mitch McLain and Chris Forney rounded out the night's offense with a pair of late goals for Langley.
Bo Didur stopped 39 of 44 shots in goal for the Eagles, who went 4/9 on the power-play Saturday. Didur stopped his second penalty shot in as many games too, thwarting Tyson Witala in the second period. Drapluk and captain Danton Heinen each had four assists in the game for Surrey.
My Three Stars:
1. Philippe Johansson, Surrey
2. Joe Drapluk, Surrey
3. Darien Craighead, Langley
Up Next: Game Five goes Monday night at the Langley Events Centre, with the now-necessary Game Six set for Tuesday evening at South Surrey Arena.