The Langley Rivermen are barely treading water in their best-of-seven, opening round playoff series against the Surrey Eagles.
One more loss will sink the ‘Men while at the same time allow the Eagles to move on to the B.C. Hockey League’s Mainland Division playoff final.
The Rivermen fell behind three games to one to the Eagles, following a 4-2 loss Tuesday at South Surrey Arena.
This puts the Rivermen in a pickle.
They simply can’t afford to lose again to an Eagles squad that swept both weekend games at the George Preston Recreation Centre (GPRC), and were edged 2-1 by the ‘Men Monday at South Surrey Arena.
On Tuesday, Desi Burgart had the game of his life by scoring all four of Surrey’s goals.
The 19-year-old Penticton product staked the Eagles to a two-goal lead with the only marker of the second period, and a goal 1:26 into the final frame.
Langley’s Daneel Lategan cut the Eagles’ lead in half exactly one minute after Burgart made it 2-0 for the home team.
But Burgart’s feast on the Rivermen’s defence continued when he restored the Eagles’ three-goal advantage at the 12:31 mark of the third period.
The Rivermen kept pressing and were rewarded with a goal from Angus Crookshank with 2:32 left in the third to narrow the deficit to 3-2.
But Burgart, with his fourth of the game and fifth of the post-season, sealed the victory by finding the net with 43 seconds to go in regulation.
The Rivermen outshot the Eagles 37-35 but Eagles’ goaltender Mario Cavaliere had a standout game, making 35 saves. Both teams went 1-3 with the man advantage.
The Rivermen will be facing the first of three do-or-die scenarios Thursday (March 8) when the series returns to the GPRC. Game time is 7 p.m.
If the Rivermen win Thursday, they’ll have to beat the Eagles again Friday in South Surrey in order to push the series to a seventh and deciding game.
If the series goes the full seven, it will be played Saturday, March 10 at the GPRC with a 7 p.m, opening puck drop.