Santaguida was called upon to make a number of big saves in the opening frame. His most notable stop came off Matt Ustaski as he pounced on the rebound of a Evan Anderson shot, but the Surrey goalie dove across to the right post to keep the biscuit out of the basket. The Rivermen opened the scoring after the midway mark of the period when Ustaski buried his ninth of the year, but Surrey tied the game just 18 seconds later when Nic Pierog scored with a quick shot from the high slot. The Birds took the lead before the end of the stanza as Stenerson deftly deflected a pass from Shaw between Langley net minder James Barr's legs to put Surrey up 2-1.
Shaw had a great chance to extend the Eagles' lead early in the second period when he dangled into the slot but shot wide of the net. The Ottawa native wouldn't be denied though as he netted his team leading 28th goal of the year at 9:10 to put Surrey ahead 3-1. Langley fought back to even the score with a pair of goals from Mitch McLain and Austin Azurdia, but the Birds responded quickly again as Brett Mulcahy gave Surrey the 4-3 lead 33 seconds after Azurdia's tying goal.
Langley came out hard in the third looking for an equalizer, and the Rivermen had a number of good chances. James Robinson missed the net from in close before McLain was denied what he felt to be a goal when he was tripped up on the rush and slid into Santaguida with the puck ending up in the net. After consulting with his linesmen, referee Mark Pearce ruled no goal, but Langley did get a man advantage as a result of the play. On the ensuing power play, Santaguida made another huge save, robbing the BCHL's leading scorer Mario Puskarich to preserve the Surrey lead. Trevor Cameron would provide the insurance marker when he scored into an empty net late in game to clinch the win.
The Eagles went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Rivermen were 0-for-2. Langley out shot Surrey 37-36 in the hockey game.
The Birds officially locked up a playoff berth on Saturday after the Coquitlam Express lost in Penticton. Surrey also extended its lead atop the Mainland Division to five points, due to the fact that the Chilliwack Chiefs lost to West Kelowna. The Eagles will return to action on Friday, February 8th when they host Prince George. For tickets, call 604-531-GOAL (4625.)
Official 3 Stars:
1. Brady Shaw - Surrey
2. Michael Stenerson - Surrey
3. Austin Azurdia - Langley
My 3 Stars:
1. Brady Shaw - Surrey
2. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
3. Mitch McLain - Langley