Saturday, March 8, 2014

GAMEDAY: Eagles vs. Rivermen

Mainland Division Semi-Final, Game 4

Who: Surrey Eagles vs. Langley Rivermen
When: March 8, 7:00 pm
Where: South Surrey Arena

Pay-Per-View: FAST Hockey
Radio: Ustream

A truculent Game 3 makes way for a pivotal Game 4 tonight as the Eagles look to even their Mainland division semi-final against Langley on home ice. Langley took Friday's game by a 6-3 final score thanks to two more goals from sizeable centreman Matt Ustaski, and tempers reached a boiling point late in the third period after an incident in front of, and in, the Langley bench.

Tonight, watch for Surrey to bear down on their chances in front of Langley netminder Brock Crossthwaite. A frantic second-period Friday led to tremendous opportunities at both ends of the ice, but it was the Rivermen who gained the upper hand after scoring twice late in the middle frame. Surrey was outshot for the first time in the series Friday as well.

Anthony Conti continues his strong playoff, registering an assist to up his team-leading point total to five after a nifty set-up on Nathan Renouf's opener. Blueliner Matt Dawson led all Surrey scorers Friday with three points, and became the first Eagles defenseman to find the back of the net in the series.

Surrey will also look to match Langley's physicality in Game 4. 16 year-old defenseman Domenic Masellis laid out some massive checks Friday, though it was fellow 16 year-old Marcus Vela's hit on the Burnaby product that sparked the late malfaisance last night.

Last Meeting: Langley's six consecutive goals gave them the upper hand on the scoresheet, and in the series with Friday's 6-3 win. Oddly enough, the team scoring the first goal has lost each of the previous three games in this series.

Our Opponent: Langley put together their most complete performance of the series Friday, and Bobby Henderson's club will be feeling good about their ability to regain momentum after the win. The foremost performer in the series thus far has been Ustaski, who with five goals has been Langley's go-to offensive player both on the power-play, and at even strength. Langley played a more up-tempo style of game Friday than what we saw at the Langley Events Centre earlier in the week, and it paid off offensively with the team's forwards able to navigate through the neutral zone with pace. Crossthwaite was strong in goal, and despite making only four saves in the second period made the stop of the series thus far off Nathan Renouf on the doorstep.

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