Friday, March 15, 2013

Santaguida Shuts Out Rivermen in Playoff Opener

Surrey Eagles net minder Michael Santaguida put forth a phenomenal effort in the playoff opener, making 33 saves en route to a 2-0 shutout over the Langley Rivermen at the South Surrey Arena on Friday evening. The Birds got goals from Kevan Kilistoff and Adam Tambellini in the win.

The game started out quickly with a lot of big hits and odd man rushes. Demico Hannoun had a phenomenal opportunity to open the scoring for Surrey in the early going when he made a beautiful deke between his legs to get around a defender down the left wing, but Langley goalie James Barr flashed the left pad to keep the game scoreless. The Rivermen had an opportunity of their own moments later when Mario Puskarich was left alone in the slot, but he fired a wrist shot wide of the net. The Eagles found the opening goal late in the first when Joel Gaudet chipped the puck past a Langley defender at the Surrey blue line and skated in on a two-on-one. Gaudet then fed a nice pass across the slot to Kilistoff who buried the first goal of the post-season for the Birds.

The Rivermen lost one of their top defenceman early in the second period when Mark Whiteley went hard into the end boards and skated off the ice holding his shoulder. The Surrey native did not return to the game and was later taken to hospital. The game settled down a bit as the middle frame wore on. Both teams traded chances but Santaguida and Barr stopped everything they saw, and the Eagles maintained the 1-0 lead.

Langley came out flying in the third and pinned the Birds in their own zone on a number of occasions but couldn't find an equalizer. Surrey doubled the lead on the power play when Adam Tambellini tipped a Brady Shaw wrister past Barr while Nathan Craft looked on from the penalty box. Santaguida was called into action again late in the game when he made a spectacular right pad save on Derek Sutliffe who was sprung in on a breakaway to secure the shutout.

Langley out shot Surrey 33-27. The Eagles went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Rivermen were 0-for-3. Game 2 goes on Saturday night at the South Surrey Arena. Get to the rink at 7:00pm. For tickets, call 604-531-GOAL (4625).

Pro4 Sports 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Brady Shaw - Surrey
3. Demico Hannoun - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Demico Hannoun - Surrey
3. Adam Tambellini - Surrey

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