The Surrey Eagles are flying into the third round.
Monday night at the Langley Events Centre, the Birds clawed back from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Langley Chiefs 4-2, winning the best-of-seven second-round series 4-2.
They’ll face either the Victoria Grizzlies or Powell River Kings in BC Hockey League Conference finals.
Trailing 2-0 in the first period, Eagles defenceman Josh Monk scored on the power-play – rifling a shot past Langley goalie Wyatt Galley – and with less than three minutes left in the period, Surrey captain Tyler Morley scored his first of two goals to tie the game.
In the second, Morley struck again to put his team ahead and Robert Lindores added an insurance marker on a breakaway later in the middle period.
Monday’s tilt was the last in a four-games-in-five-days stretch, with the Eagles winning Games 3 and 4 in Langley – the latter win coming when Jeff Vanderlugt scored in double overtime. Down 3-1 in the series heading into Game 5 Sunday, Langley’s Matt Ius pulled his team back from the brink of elimination with a five-point effort in a 7-5 win in South Surrey.
Ius had two goals and three assists in the Chiefs’ victory.
As was the case Monday, the Chiefs were the better team early, but unlike the final game of the series, Langley was able to hold its lead. Kit Sitterley and Ius scored less than a minute apart to give Langley a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes, and Sitterley tacked on another early in the second.
Brandon Morley replied for the Eagles, and after goals from Daniel Gentzler and rookie blue-liner Tim Coish, the Eagles trailed just 5-3 heading into the third.
However, a Langley goal – from captain Trevor Gerling – just 35 seconds into the third restored the Chiefs’ three-goal lead, and also chased Eagles’ goalie Karel St. Laurent from the game.
Steve Koshey, on a shorthanded tally, and Scott Holm, brought the score to 6-5, but Ius sealed the win with an empty-netter.
While Sunday’s tilt was an offensive barn-burner – 12 total goals and a combined 78 shots on net – Game 4 at the Langley Events Centre was anything but.
Eagles sniper Richard Vanderhoek, a Langley native, had both of Surrey’s goals in regulation, the first 8:27 into the first period, and his second on the power play in the second frame.
Surrey’s 2-0 lead lasted a little over a minute, when Langley’s Brandon Thompson made it 2-1. The Chiefs tied the game just a little over a minute into the third, when Brad McBride jammed a puck past
Surrey’s Karel St. Laurent.
As could be expected from two teams who played the night before, overtime was a sluggish, at times sloppy, affair, filled with plenty of neutral zone turnovers by both squads.
After a scoreless first overtime period, Vanderlugt sent his team home with the victory when he scooped up a rebound at the side of the Langley net – the original shot from the point had clanged off the mask of Chiefs goalie Wyatt Galley – and wired a wrist shot under the crossbar.
Brad McGowan added two assists in the win, giving him 18 points in eight playoff games, just one point back of Ius for the league lead.
In Game 3 Thursday night in Langley – which gave the Eagles a 2-1 series lead – Vanderhoek again led the Eagles with two goals, keying a 4-3 victory, while Vanderlugt and McGowan also scored.
Lindores, who has nine points in 10 playoff games after`tallying just 21 in 60 regular-season contests – added two assists, as did Colton Mackie. Like Lindores, Mackie has upped his playoff production significantly; the Surrey native has four points thus far, after scoring just six in 51 games during the season.
In the first period, Vanderlugt and Vanderhoek scored 29 seconds apart to stake the Birds to a 2-1 by the 3:38 mark of the first period, and McGowan scored with a minute to go in the frame to extend the lead. In the second period, Vanderhoek scored his second of the game with his team on a five-on-three power play, at which point the Chiefs mounted their comeback attempt.
Langley forward Josh Myers – who was right in the thick of the action in a penalty-filled Game 2 Tuesday night – scored 2:19 after Vanderhoeks’ power-play tally, and in third period, Gerling made it 4-2 at the 4:11 mark.
With 11 minutes left in the game, Myers struck again, this time short-handed, to bridge the gap to 4-3, but the Eagles were able to hold on to the victory.