With the exception of one minor hiccup, the Surrey Eagles did as expected and eliminated the Langley Rivermen in the opening round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs Tuesday night.
The two teams split the first two games at South Surrey Arena last weekend with Surrey winning the opener and the Rivermen knotting the best-of-five affair with a 1-0 win in Game 2. When the series shifted to Langley for Games 3 and 4, the Eagles soared, wrapping things up with a 6-2 decision on Monday and 6-3 victory Tuesday.
"Every game was a battle, but when you score six goals on the road you have a good chance of winning," said Eagles coach Matt Erhart. "Once we scored our fourth and fifth goals each night Langley seemed to sag a bit. Most games Mike (Eagles goalie Michael Santaguida) gives up only one or two goals so when we score five or six it's kind of deflating."
In Game 3 Monday, the Eagles turned a narrow 2-1 lead after 40 minutes into a full-blown romp with four consecutive goals to open the third period.
Adam Tambellini led the way with two goals while solo markers came from the sticks of Michael Stenerson, Craig Wyszomirsk, Brady Shaw and Demico Hannoun.
Langley's season came to an end Tuesday night after the Eagles built up a two period lead of 5-2 and then cruised to series-clinching win. Tambellini enjoyed another monster game with three goals and one assist to earn first star honours for the second consecutive night. Shaw, Trevor Cameron and Nicolas Pierog also scored for Surrey.
The Eagles will play either Chilliwack or Prince George in the next round.
Those two teams were tied 2-2 with Game 5 slated for Wednesday in Chilliwack.
The winner advances to face Surrey in the next round beginning Friday at SSA.
"It's playoffs so we know both teams are good," Erhart said of the Eagles next opponents.
"The extra travel they have to do doesn't matter too much, but having an extra day off in the playoffs is so important. I'm not complaining, that's for sure. We gave everyone the complete day off (Wednesday) to recharge mentally and physically, but Prince George and Chilliwack had to travel through the night and then play a Game 5 the next day.
"People who have never been through it don't understand, but if you want to go on a long run in the playoffs, you need to have rest days."