Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tambellini Leads Birds Past Vees

Adam Tambellini scored twice in his Surrey Eagles debut, helping the Birds to a thrilling 2-1 win over the defending Royal Bank Cup champion Penticton Vees on Friday evening at the South Surrey Arena. Michael Santaguida had a big game in goal as well, making 40 saves for his 18th win of the season.

The two teams traded chances in the first, but the game remained scoreless through 20 minutes. Each side managed eight shots on the opposing net, but both Santaguida and Vees goalie Nic Renyard turned them all aside.

It didn't take Surrey long to get on the board in the second. Tambellini netted his first as an Eagle and 23rd of the season just 1:37 into the middle frame, beating Renyard with a backhander at the right post. The Vees pulled onto level terms before the midway mark when Jedd Soleway deflected a Brad McClure wrist shot past Santaguida to tie the game at 1-1. But before the end of the stanza, the Birds retook the lead when Tambellini and Demico Hannoun found themselves in on a two-on-one. Hannoun held onto the puck before making a seamless pass to Tambellini who redirected it past Renyard into the Penticton goal. The Vees thought they had tied the game late in the period when Michael Rebry shovelled the puck into the Surrey goal, but referee Jason Cramer ruled that the whistle had gone before the puck had crossed the line, and the Eagles retained the lead.

Penticton was denied an equalizer in the early stages of the third period as well when Troy Stecher beat Santaguida with a hard wrister that bounced in and out of the net so quickly that none of the officials saw it cross the line. After the disallowed goal, the Eagles got into penalty trouble as Surrey was assessed five straight penalties. But the Birds' penalty kill unit had a monster period, killing off all five shorthanded situations while Santaguida faced 20 shots in the final 20 minutes and stopped them all. Penticton's best chance to tie the game came in the final 10 seconds when the puck bounced onto McClure's stick at the side of the goal, but the Vees forward missed a yawning cage, and the Eagles skated away victors.

Penticton out shot Surrey 41-24 in the hockey game and went 1-for-7 on the power play while the Birds were 0-for-4. The result means that the Eagles win the season series between the two teams by virtue of the fact that Surrey picked up an extra point in the overtime loss at the South Okanagan Events Centre last weekend.

Up next, the Eagles visit the Langley Events Centre on Sunday afternoon to face the Rivermen. Face-off is at 2:00pm.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Adam Tambellini - Surrey
3. Jedd Soleway - Penticton

My 3 Stars:
1. Adam Tambellini - Surrey
2. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
3. Troy Stecher - Penticton

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