The Michael Santaguida show continues.
In Games 1 and 2 against the Penticton Vees, the Surrey Eagles netminder made 81 saves on 83 shots. He added another 37 to his total Monday night. Just one thing was different. The Eagles lost 3-2 and now lead the BCHL championship best-of-seven series 2-1.
There may be chinks in Santaquida’s armour. He was beaten three times on his glove side.
Twice high on lethal wrist shots from Brad McClure, and once down low courtesy of Cody DePourcq, who got the crowd of 1,760 on its feet at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
DePourcq’s winner came on a 2-on-1 play set up by Travis Blanleil.
“I didn’t get on top of the puck well enough,” Santaquida said following the game. “He made a good shot over top of my pad. Right in the little corner. I thought I had it to be honest. Kind of kicking myself for that.”
The Vees struck first Monday night on the power play as McClure’s wrist shot went top shelf in the first period.
“I have been a bit snake bitten lately,” said McClure, who was kept off the scoresheet in the first two games. “That’s the way I help out the team and it’s been frustrating lately. To help the boys out is huge.”
A little over four minutes later, he had his second of the game, same side.
As big as his goals were, the Eagles responded quickly. Nicolas Pierog cashed in a rebound three minutes after McClure’s first tally, than former Vee Brady Shaw countered on the power play a minute after McClure’s second. DePourcq’s winning tally came at 10:53 of the third period.
The Vees could have won the game by a larger margin, but the crossbar had something else in mind, as did Santaguida. Sam Mellor had a chance in close, but couldn’t get his stick on it. Then McClure tested the goalie’s glove again. Late in the third period, Wade Murphy narrowly missed the net. The Eagles also had their chances, but Chad Katunar made timely saves when needed and finished with 26 saves on the night. He was forced to endure pressure by the Eagles who were buzzing during the first five minutes of the third.
Santaguida said he feels he has been playing well.
“I feel our back end has been playing excellent,” he said. “Keeping the majority of shots to the outside, letting me see a lot of pucks. Today we gave up a power play goal and a short-handed goal, which in the playoffs can’t happen. That was the difference today. We’re going to try and clean up a couple of things for tomorrow.”
Game 4 is tonight at the SOEC with puck drop at 7 p.m.