Tuesday, March 11, 2014

GAMEDAY: Eagles vs. Rivermen

Mainland Division Semi-Final, Game 6
Who: Surrey Eagles vs. Langley Rivermen
When: March 11, 7:00 pm
Where: South Surrey Arena

Pay-Per-View: FAST Hockey
Radio: Ustream

For the first time in this Mainland Division semi-final, a team faces elimination as the Eagles host Langley in Game Six tonight at South Surrey Arena. A 3-0 victory for the Rivermen Monday gave them a 3-2 edge in the best-of-seven series; another win tonight would end Surrey's season and put Langley through to the second round of the BCHL playoffs.

Brock Crossthwaite was the man of the hour Monday, stopping 36 Eagles shots to record the shutout, while shifty forward Austin Azurdia scored the deciding goals in a span of 1:37 halfway through the game. Like champion prize-fighters, these sides continue to attack at one another blow for blow, and tonight, on home ice, Surrey gets a chance to strike even again.

As they celebrate their 20th birthdays, watch for Jonah and Nathan Renouf to dig deeper this evening. The pair have been held goal-less since the first period of Game 3, though both have enjoyed chances from close range when not battling the checks of Langley's top line of Mitch McLain, Jakob Reichert and Matt Ustaski. Winger Joe Drapluk may have been Surrey's best forward in Game Five, throwing his body hap-hazardly in front of shots, creating turnovers, and nearly putting the Eagles on the board on a third period breakaway.

Both teams made few mistakes Monday, and as the stakes intensify, watch for that to continue. The Eagles have been able to open up the pace of play on home ice in the series as well, and in Game Four, it paid massive dividends.

It's a must-win game for Surrey, and it's one you won't want to miss.

Last Meeting: A two-minute spell midway through last night's second period broke Game Five open, with Azurdia scoring his first goals of the series. Including the regular season, last night's game also marked the first time either team has been shut out in the 13 meetings in 2013-14.

Our Opponent: Langley's net-crashing style of offense paid off Monday, with the Rivermen not shy at all about entering Eagles goaltender Bo Didur's crease on the rush. Bobby Henderson's second line captured lightning in a bottle Monday, with Azurdia easily the most dynamic forward among his group on the ice at both ends of the rink, while linemate James Robinson was also dangerous in the offensive zone. Game Five was the first in the series in which 6'6" centreman Matt Ustaski did not record a point; he leads all scorers in the best-of-seven with six goals and nine points.

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