Langley Rivermen’s Sean Gulka checks Surrey Eagles’ Chase Danol during BCHL action earlier this season. Gulka scored twice in Langley’s 8-5 win over the Eagles Thursday at the George Preston Recreation Centre, to keep the Rivermen’s playoff hopes alive. The teams meet tonight at South Surrey Arena in game six of their opening round, best-of-seven series. Garrett James photo

Langley Rivermen stave off elimination by outscoring Surrey Eagles

Langley faces another do-or-die scenario when they visit South Surrey Arena tonight (March 9)

The Langley Rivermen still have a pulse.

Langley’s junior A hockey team stayed alive in its best-of-seven series with the Surrey Eagles by outscoring the Eagles 8-5 Thursday at the George Preston Recreation Centre (GPRC).

The Eagles remain a win away from ending the B.C. Hockey League opening round series, up three games to two with game six set for tonight (March 9) at South Surrey Arena.

Langley has to win tonight to force a seventh and deciding game tomorrow (March 10) at the GPRC. If Saturday’s game happens, it’ll have a 7 p.m. opening puck drop at the GPRC.

The Rivermen stunned the Eagles in the third period of Thursday’s game by outscoring them 5-1, and by tallying the final three goals of the period off the sticks of Sean Gulka, Brendan Budy, and Ethan Leyh (with 58 seconds remaining in regulation).

Gulka and Leyh both finished with two goals on the night.

Surrey entered the final frame with a 4-3 lead.

Budy’s and Leyh’s late goals both came on the power play. The Rivermen were lethal on what man advantage opportunities they did get, going 3-4 on the power play.

Angus Crookshank had a strong game for the ‘Men, scoring once and adding three assists for a four-point outing. Alec Capstick and Tanner Versluis rounded out the Rivermen goal-scorers.

Five different Eagles found the net on Thursday including Chase Danol, Matthew Campese, Aaron White, Jeffrey Stewart, and Ryan Brushett.

Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson said Thursday’s result came down to puck luck and resilience on his team’s part.

“I think the game got away from them (the Eagles) a little bit,” Henderson said. “It’s been pretty tight all the way through and there was a little fatigue on both ends. We were fortunate to get some bounces and the guys were clicking a bit.”

Henderson said the teams are so closely matched, that the Rivermen could easily be the team in the driver’s seat going into tonight’s pivotal match-up in White Rock.

“We’ve been confident all along,” Henderson said. “We’ve played those guys tight all year and we’ve had success in that building (South Surrey Arena), so nothing changes. We’ve been a couple bounces either way in the series from being up and the guys believe they can pull this off. It’s been a tough series… pretty entertaining.”

Tonight’s game starts at 7 p.m.

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