Friday, April 12, 2013

Stenerson Scores Two in Win Over Vees

The Surrey Eagles opened the 2013 Fred Page Cup Final with a 5-2 victory over the Penticton Vees at the South Surrey Arena on Friday evening. Michael Stenerson led the way offensively for the Birds with two goals and an assist. For Penticton, the game marked only the second loss of the playoffs and the first time the Vees have trailed in a series this year.

Penticton came out of the gate quickly and carried the play throughout the majority of the opening period. Cody DePourcq had a good opportunity in the early going when he walked out front after forcing a turnover on the end boards, but Michael Santaguida kept the puck out. The Vees eventually opened the scoring after the Eagles got caught on a line change, sending Ryan Gropp and Brock Balson in on a two-on-one. Balson tipped a pass from Gropp past Santaguida to put the visitors ahead. Penticton got a power play late in the frame, but it was the Eagles who scored while down a man as Stenerson's backhander from the slot took a weird bounce and ended up in the back of the Vees' net.

The Birds got some power play time of their own early in the second after Thomas Nitsche took two penalties on one play, and Robert Mann followed him to the box a few moments later, giving the Eagles an extended five-on-three. Stenerson tallied his second of the evening with a hard shot from the right circle to put Surrey ahead, and because the goal came before the end of Nitsche's first minor, the Birds remained on a two-man advantage. Craig Wyszomirski extended the lead just 31 seconds after Stenerson's goal with a shot from the point that found its way past Penticton goalie Chad Katunar. The Vees got one back before the end of the period when Wade Murphy scored on a wraparound after Santaguida was caught out of the net and couldn't get back across to the far post in time to make a save.

Try as they might, the Vees couldn't score on the Eagles in the third. Surrey's defence corps played a strong positional period and kept the Penticton forwards from generating much in the Eagles' end. The Birds went ahead by two when Demico Hannoun rippled the mesh after deflecting a Wyszomirski point shot, and Nic Pierog added some insurance in the final minute, beating Murphy in a foot race for the puck and scoring into the empty net to clinch the win.

Surrey won the special teams battle in the game as the Eagles went 2-for-5 on the power play and scored a shorthanded goal as well. Penticton was 0-for-2 on the man advantage, although the Vees did out shoot the Eagles 33-25.

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series goes Saturday night at the South Surrey Arena. For tickets, call 604-531-GOAL (4625).

Pro4 Sports 3 Stars:
1. Michael Stenerson - Surrey
2. Craig Wyszomirski - Surrey
3. Demico Hannoun - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Michael Stenerson - Surrey
2. Craig Wyszomirski - Surrey
3. Wade Murphy - Penticton

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