Call it a ‘Killer’ instinct.
The Surrey Eagles are one game away from capturing a fourth Fred Page Cup after rookie forward Kevan Killistoff – called ‘Killer’ or ‘Killy’ by his teammates – scored in overtime of Game 5 Thursday night at South Surrey Arena to boost the Birds to a 2-1 win over the Penticton Vees.
With the win, the Eagles now hold a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, with Game 6 slated for Sunday at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre.
Killistoff, a Langley native, scored the winning goal 5:44 into the extra period when, standing at the side of the net, a point shot from Craig Wyszomirski missed the net and bounced off the end boards to Killistoff, who was standing at the side of the net and banged the rebound home, past Vees’ netminder Chad Katunar.
“Killy was in the right spot at the right time, and he put it home,” said linemate Trevor Cameron, who got the play started by getting the puck to Wyszomirski at the blue-line.
Cameron was instrumental in getting the game into overtime, scoring the team’s first goal 5:32 into the third period when he pounced on a loose puck before Katunar could get to it and slid it into the empty net on a wraparound.
“I just… beat my check to the net. I picked it up and knocked it away from Katunar a bit. I realized I had no one on me, had the open net, and put it home,” he said.
For much of regulation time, it looked like perhaps it would be the Vees heading back to the Okanagan with the 3-2 series lead. The Vees took a 1-0 lead with just three seconds left in the first period when Travis Blaneil, capitalizing on a Surrey turnover caused by Vee’s Cam Amantea, wired a shot past Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida for his second goal of the playoffs.
Surrey head coach Matt Erhart called the first period “a bit of a chess match,” and added he was happy with how his team responded to the late first-period goal.
“We have pretty good resolve in that dressing room, and they just wanted to shake that off and go play a better second period,” he said. “We just wanted to get on the forecheck and create some (opportunities) around the net… (then) we held them at bay.
“It was a big win for the club. Obviously it’s exciting when you win in overtime like that.”