Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Pierog Lifts Birds to 3-0 Series Lead

Nic Pierog scored the overtime winner for a second straight game as the Surrey Eagles took a commanding 3-0 series lead with a 3-2 win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Monday evening at Weyerhaeuser Arena. Adam Tambellini and Brady Shaw also had goals in the victory.

The Bulldogs came out with a lot of jump in their home rink and pressured the Eagles early, but it was the Birds with the better of the scoring chances in the first. Devon Toews got a shot off the right wing on a two-on-one, and the rebound came right out into the slot, bouncing between the legs of Pierog who was going hard to the goal. Demico Hannoun had the puck hop over his stick on an odd-man rush as well while Anthony Brito tipped a centring pass wide of the goal in the late stages of the period. Michael Santaguida had to make a couple of big saves at the other end of the ice. Most notably, the Surrey goalie turned aside a couple of good efforts from Mak Barden in close.

Surrey had a glorious opportunity to take the lead in the second when Brett Mulcahy was hauled down as he went hard to the net, and the Birds were awarded a penalty shot. Mulcahy took the shot and skated in from the left, deking to the forehand, but Jay Deo made a nice stop to keep the game scoreless. The Eagles finally found the back of the net just before the end of the frame. Surrey was given a late power play, and in the dying seconds, Devon Toews sent Brady Shaw in on a breakaway with a nice stretch pass from his own zone. Shaw skated in and made no mistake, completing a pretty move by scoring on the backhand with less than two seconds to go in the period.

The Birds extended their lead early in the third when Adam Tambellini knocked home a rebound at 1:56 to double the Surrey lead. However, the Eagles got into some penalty trouble later in the stanza, and the Dogs made them pay for it, scoring twice in just over a minute. Jared Wilson beat Santaguida with a wrist shot from the left point to pull Alberni Valley within one, and Teal Burns tied the game when he chipped the rebound of a Wilson point shot into the back of the net. Once again, the game would head to overtime tied at 2-2.

Alberni Valley had some early pressure in the extra period as Santaguida was callled into action, making a couple of solid saves in the first few minutes. In the end, Pierog scored the winner after Deo came out of his net to play the puck and turned it over to Drew Best who knocked it to Pierog, and the Georgetown, Ontario native tucked the puck inside the left post on a wraparound.

Surrey went 1-for-7 on the power play while the Bulldogs were 2-for-7. Santaguida made 48 saves in the win while Deo stopped 36 shots in a losing cause.

The Eagles will have a chance to advance to the Fred Page Cup Final on Tuesday night when the teams meet again for Game 4. Puck drop is at 7:00pm.

Pro4 Sports 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Jay Deo - Alberni Valley
3. Brady Shaw - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Jared Wilson - Alberni Valley
3. Brady Shaw - Surrey

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