Rivermen end Eagles season

Langley Rivermen forward Austin Azurdia (#11) closes in on Surrey Eagles
Langley Rivermen forward Austin Azurdia (#11) closes in on Surrey Eagles' Domenic Masellis during game two of the teams' best-of-seven playoff series. Azurdia scored twice in the team's 3-0 game five victory and then added another goal in a 6-1 series-clinching victory for Langley.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times

Tyson Witala scored twice and set up a pair of goals and the power play went 3-for-4 as the Langley Rivermen eliminated the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL’s Mainland Division semifinal series.

The Rivermen defeated the Eagles 6-1 in game six of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday (March 11) at the South Surrey Arena, winning the series four games to two.

The teams had traded wins in the first four games before Langley won 3-0 on March 10 at the Langley Events Centre in game five and then closed out the series in game six.

Evan Anderson had the only goal of the first period and Viktor Dombrovskiy — on the power play — doubled the lead to 2-0 midway through the second. The Rivermen took control with a pair of goals from Witala 2:37 apart. The first came with less than two minutes to go in the middle period and the latter was 38 seconds into the third on a power play. The Eagles had taken a penalty at the second-period final buzzer.

Surrey captain Danton Heinen broke Brock Crossthwaite’s shutout streak with a goal at the four-minute mark. It was the first goal the Rivermen goalie allowed in 104 minutes as he pitched a shutout in the team’s 3-0 game five victory. He had been pulled the previous game after allowing six goals.

“He was great in both games,” said Rivermen coach Bobby Henderson.

“He gave us a chance early and got more confidence and was solid all the way through.”

But any momentum the Eagles hoped to get from their goal was quickly gone as Austin Azurdia scored 2:28 later — his third goal in the past two games.

Darien Craighead rounded out the scoring with another man-advantage goal with less than four minutes to play.

And Langley won game six minus its captain, Mitch McLain, who was sitting out the first of his two-game suspension for a goaltender interference penalty in game five.

“That is what has happened all year,” Henderson said about others stepping up.

“We have pretty good depth and it was good to see a couple of guys who have been relatively snakebitten get on the score sheet.”

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