Playoff hockey is sure fun isn’t it? Last night lived up to the billing and then some as game #1 had just about everything. Tonight is going to be another war and it is a huge game for the Rivermen as they do not want to go down 2-0 in the series to the best team in the BCHL. The ‘Men had a very solid game last night and from what many said after the game out-played and outchanced the Eagles, but could not beat a very sharp Michael Santaguida. I have never seen a 5 foot 9 goaltender cover up so much of the net as he does and is virtually unbeatable along the ice.
The Rivermen are going to have to battle some adversity early in this series with Mark Whiteley now on the shelf. It is a big blow to the already depleted defense core as he plays in all situations and eats up a lot of minutes. This opens up an opportunity for another defenseman to step up and try to fill the void.
One thing that stood out in last night’s game was the sustained pressure the ‘Men had in the Eagles zone. At one point in the second period, they had the puck in the Eagles end for a lengthy period of time and were able to change-up the lines three times and never had the puck leave Eagles blue line. They were cycling down low with a purpose and were winning the battles along the boards, but when the puck got to the net, you know who was there to make the save.
Langley- Record: 0-1…..PP: 0/3…..PK: 3/4…..Shots for: 32…..Shots against: 27…..PIMS: 12
Surrey- Record: 1-0…..PP: 1/4…..PK: 3/3…..Shots for: 27…..Shots against: 32…..PIMS: 10…..Goals: Kilistoff, Tambellini…..Assists: Gaudet, Shaw, Toews
WHO TO WATCH FOR:
Langley- Mitch McLain. I really liked his game last night. He always plays well against the ‘Birds and was up to his agitating ways getting under the skin of some Eagles players. To beat Santaguida, there has to be bodies in front of him. No one knows that more than McLain whose office is right in front of the crease. The Minnesota product seems built for post season hockey and I think he is going to be a big X-factor in this series.
Surrey- Michael Santaguida. Nuff said.
The biggest game of the Rivermen’s season is going to be tonight. I know that has been said in previous games, but in a best of five series a 2-0 hole would be very tough to climb out of.
I got to give a shout out to the Rivermen fans who packed section E last night. You guys were great and were very loud and I know the players appreciated the support. Checking Twitter this morning, it looks like a good bulk of you are coming back tonight, which is awesome!
It will be a 7:15 PM puck drop from the SSA. The game is available on http://www.fasthockey.com or on http://www.ustream.tv/channel/langley-rivermen-hockey.