Friday, February 15, 2013

Birds Get Past Clippers

The Surrey Eagles clinched home ice advantage for the first round of the BCHL playoffs with a 3-2 victory over the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday evening. After the Surrey win, the season series between the two teams finishes tied at a win apiece.

The Birds controlled the play throughout the first period, out shooting the Clippers 13-3 in the opening 20 minutes. Eagles forward Colton Mackie was knocked out of the game after a check from behind delivered by Nanaimo's Brendan Taylor midway through the stanza. Following the hit, Michael Stenerson immediately dropped the gloves with Taylor. The Nanaimo forward was ejected from the game for the illegal check and Mackie did not return. Despite the Eagles' heavy advantage on the shot clock, the game remained scoreless after the opening frame.

Surrey came to life midway through the second with two goals in a three minute span. Adam Tambellini opened the scoring for the Eagles after Joel Gaudet found him in the slot with a beautiful pass from the left boards, leaving Tambellini to tuck the puck into the yawning cage. Moments later, Devon Toews doubled the Surrey lead when he picked the top right corner of the net with a wrist shot from the high slot. The Birds went ahead 3-0 before the end of the frame when Brett Mulcahy netted his 17th of the year after a nice feed from Dan O'Keefe.

Reid Sturos started a comeback attempt for the Clippers in the third when he put the visitors on the board, knocking a rebound past Michael Santaguida just 4:25 into the period. Nanaimo pulled to within one moments after the eight minute mark when Greg Fraser buried the rebound of a Sturos shot on the power play to make it 3-2. The Clippers nearly tied the game mere seconds after their second goal. Santaguida came out of the crease to play the puck and couldn't reach it before Fraser who tried a wrap around, but the Surrey net minder dove back across the crease to rob the Clippers forward at the far post. Nanaimo pushed for the tying goal late in the game, but they couldn't find the net for a third time, and the Eagles skated away with the win.

The Birds were unable to score on the power play, going 0-for-4, while Nanaimo was 1-for-3 with the man advantage. Surrey out shot the Clippers 38-25. Santaguida made 23 saves in the Eagles' goal for his league leading 26th victory of the year.

Surrey gets right back at it on Saturday evening with a visit to Prospera Centre to face the Chilliwack Chiefs. The game gets underway at 7:00pm.

Pro4 Sports 3 Stars:
1. Adam Tambellini - Surrey
2. Devon Toews - Surrey
3. Reid Sturos - Nanaimo

My 3 Stars:
1. Devon Toews - Surrey 
2. Reid Sturos - Nanaimo
3. Adam Tambellini - Surrey

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