A Brady Shaw goal 35 seconds into the game set the tone early, and Adam Tambellini had a hat trick to help propel the Surrey Eagles into the second round of BC Hockey League playoffs.
The Eagles defeated the Langley Rivermen 6-3 Tuesday night at the Langley Events Centre, winning the best-of-five series 3-1; on Monday night, Surrey won Game 3 by a 6-2 score.
The latter two contests were in stark contrast to the first two in South Surrey, where goals were in short supply and each team’s netminders were stellar.
“Anytime you win a series you’re excited as a group. It was big for us… to win two games on the road and score six both nights,” Eagles head coach Matt Erhart told the team’s play-by-play announcer Brendan Batchelor after the game.
“I thought we persevered the first two games (when) we didn’t get the offence we wanted but we stuck with it… and were able to score some goals the last couple nights.”
The Eagles now advance to the second round, where they will face either the Prince George Spruce Kings or the Chilliwack Chiefs, who are deadlocked in their best-of-five series 2-2. Game 5 was played Wednesday night after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.
“They’re both really strong teams. Whoever it is, we’ll be ready,” said Tambellini after Game 4.
Shaw’s opening goal – his second of the series – came on the power play, after Rivermen defenceman Viktor Dombrovskiy was whistled for a bench minor penalty, before the game even began, for being late getting off the ice after the pre-game warmup.
Langley returned the favour less than nine minutes later when Evan Campbell deposited a rebound behind Eagles’ netminder Michael Santaguida after a Turner Popoff point shot.
The tie lasted all but two minutes, when Surrey’s Trevor Cameron restored the visitors’ lead, with assists from Tambellini and rookie blue-liner Jordan Klimek.
Despite a Rivermen tally from Mitch McLain 2:17 into the second period, the middle bracket was all Eagles, as Tambellini scored twice – including once on the power play – as the Surrey squad scored three times to stake themselves to a 5-2 lead.
Tambellini – who racked up six goals in the four-game set – scored again in the third to complete the hat trick, and though Trevor Cope replied for Langley just eight seconds later, it was not enough to stir the Rivermen to a comeback.
In Game 3 Monday night, the Eagles – whose high-powered offense was largely stifled by the Rivermen on the weekend – finally exploded with six goals, including four in the third period to break what up until that point was a close 2-1 game.
Michael Stenerson scored once and added a pair of assists, Tambellini had two goals and Shaw added a goal and one helper. Craig Wyszomirski and Demico Hannoun rounded out the scoring.
Regardless of opponent, the second round – also a best-of-five series – will begin Friday in South Surrey. The second game of the round will be played in South Surrey on Saturday before the series shifts to either Chilliwack or Prince George Monday and, if necessary, Tuesday. Game 5, if required, would be played Wednesday, March 27.