Surrey Eagles fall to Rivermen in series opener

Surrey Eagles captain Danton Heinen against Langley in Game 1 Tuesday night. - Garrett James photo
Surrey Eagles captain Danton Heinen against Langley in Game 1 Tuesday night.
— image credit: Garrett James photo

A two-goal effort from Anthony Conti wasn’t enough to stake the Surrey Eagles to a lead in their best-of-seven series with the Langley Rivermen Tuesday night.

Instead, the Rivermen used a strong second-period push – and got some help from a couple friendly goal posts – en route to a 4-2 win in front of an announced crowd of 768 fans at the Langley Events Centre.

The Rivermen now lead the first-round BC Hockey League series 1-0. Game 2 goes tonight (Wednesday) at the LEC.

The first of Conti’s two goals came six minutes into the first period, though offence from either side was otherwise limited; Surrey had just three shots on goal, while Langley sent seven in the direction of Eagles’ starting netminder Bo Didur.

Surrey’s 1-0 lead lasted until early in the second frame when, with Nathan Renouf in the penalty box serving a tripping penalty, Langley’s Matt Utaski scored to tie it up.

Twelve minutes later, the Rivermen went up 2-1 when Marcus Vela finished off a play, with Gage Torrell and Tyson Witala drawing assists.

Then, just eleven seconds later, Langley made it 3-1 on a goal from Evan Anderson.

The Eagles could very well have escaped the period with the score knotted at 3-3, but hit two posts behind Langley goalie Brock Crossthwaite.

In the third period, Conti scored his second of the game – with assists going to Kale Bennett and Matt Dawson – to make it 3-2 with less than three minutes to play, but Langley’s Jakob Reichert secured the win with an unassisted empty-net marker as time expired.

Both teams finished the game dead even in shots-on-goal at 27, with the Eagles peppering Crossthwaite with 17 in the third as they attempted to tie the game.

The Eagles – whose power play in the regular season was ranked second in the league at a 20 per cent success rate – struggled against the defensively stingy Rivermen, going 0-4.

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