For the fourth game in this semi-final series, the Surrey Eagles came out hard and for the third time took the early lead. Consistency has resided on the Eagles bench as the fourth-seeded underdogs rode a powerful offence to a 7-5 win, ensuring another game at the South Surrey Arena Tuesday night.
Down 2-0 after one, this time the Rivermen didn’t turn the tide to start the second as has often been the case. Instead the Eagles added two more within the first three and a half minutes, both on the power play as the Riv faced a big deficit less than halfway through the game. But credit the Rivermen for battling as Kevan Kilistoff got his second in as many nights to get on the board. Despite the Eagles getting one back quickly, the Rivermen scored two more late in the period from Jakob Reichert and Matt Ustaski as all of a sudden it went from a 4-0 hole to a 5-3 Surrey lead with 20 minutes to go. The feeling around the rink was a positive one for Rivermen fans at the South Surrey Arena as the visitors had the Eagles on their heels in the second half of the period.
But Philippe Johansson’s third of the night early in the final frame quickly swung momentum back in Surrey’s favour. The Eagles added yet another on the power play (they went 4/9 on the night) to take a 7-3 lead.
Captain Mitch McLain got his first of the series with just over three minutes to go while Chris Forney blasted home his first on the power play cutting the Eagles’ lead to two with less than 90 seconds to go in the game but the Rivermen would come no closer.
The game was a strange one to say the least, especially that second period. But Surrey’s deadly power play wreaked havoc and ultimately did the Rivermen in. Offence certainly hasn’t been an issue for the Rivermen who have scored an average of four and a half goals per game. But this time having to play catch-up was just too much. The Riv have absolutely dominated the Eagles at times in this series, the key is to turn those 10-12 minute periods into a full 60 minutes, right from the opening face-off.
Game five is set for Monday night at the LEC before game six goes Tuesday in South Surrey.