Surrey Eagles forward Michael Campese scored the Game 6 overtime winner Friday night to send his team into the second round of BCHL playoffs. (File photo)

Surrey Eagles get set for Spruce Kings in second round of BCHL playoffs

BCHL squad advances after Game 6 overtime winner

A wrist shot from the top of the circle – in overtime, no less – has propelled the Surrey Eagles into the second round of BC Hockey League playoffs.

On Friday night at South Surrey Arena, with the Eagles and Langley Rivermen tied 4-4, forward Matthew Campese took a pass from linemate Ryan Brushett –who, in turn, had recieved a long stretch pass from defenceman Jackson Ross – and fired wrist shot that beat Langley netminder Braeden Fleming, to give the Birds the victory, and a 4-2 best-of-seven series win.

“Honestly, when I got the puck I just wanted to get it on net, and I just hoped for the best,” said Campese, whose goal came just 34 seconds into the extra frame.

The Eagles will have a few days off this week to rest up before travelling north to face their second-round opponents, the Prince George Spruce Kings. Games 1 and 2 are scheduled for Prince George on Friday and Saturday nights, with Games 3 and 4 set for South Surrey on Monday and Tuesday.

And though Campese played the role of hero, he was quick to deflect praise to his teammates – especially goaltender Mario Cavaliere, who stopped 37 of 41 shots on goal.

“Cavs, he played unbelievable,” Campese said after the game, on the team’s official online radio broadcast.

As well, Desi Burgart – who has a four-goal game to his credit in the playoffs already – was responsible for the Eagles’ other three goals, giving him two hat-tricks in the series. He leads the BCHL in playoff scoring with eight goals in six games, and is third in overall points.

“He’s a guy who is just always competing. He’s a 200-foot player who gives his best every night, so I’m not surprised (at his success),” Eagles head coach Brandon West told Peace Arch News Monday.

Chase Danol opened the scoring in the game, just 1:39 into the first period, and Burgart followed less than four minutes later to give the home team an early cushion. The Rivermen, however, battled back quickly, and scored two goals of their own later in the period – off the sticks of John Wojciechowski and Angus Crookshank – before Burgart’s second of the game gave Surrey a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes.

The second period went in much the same way – with Langley knotting the score at 3-3, Surrey again taking a lead – on Burgart’s third – and the Rivermen clawing back to tie it again, this time on a Tanner Versluis tally.

Neither team scored in the third, which set the table for Campese’s winner.

“Whenever you have the chance to eliminate someone, they’re always playing for their lives, so it’s good we came out (with) that start, and good we could end it like that,” he said.

Brushett finished the game with three assists.

The Game 6 victory came on the heels of an 8-5 loss the night before in Langley, which cut into what had been a two-game lead in the series for the Eagles, who are back in the BCHL post-season for the first time since the 2013/14 season.

“It was a great series, and we’re very fortunate (to win it),” said West.

In Game 5, Surrey led 4-3 after 40 minutes, but the game slipped away in the third period as the Rivermen scored five in the third period – including one shorthanded and one power-play marker – to escape with the win.

Five different players scored for the Eagles – Danol, Campese, Aaron White, Jeff Stewart and Brushett.

“Obviously, we were disappointed with the result on Friday night – I thought we had some chances to (win) – so we knew we had to respond in Game 6.”

Despite being just a goal away from the second round – or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, a goal away from having to go back to Langley for Game 7 – West said his group was confident and calm in the dressing room between the end of the third period and the start of the overtime session.

“We came in and the guys were focused, there was a good vibe in the room,” he said.

Now the Birds will prepare for a long-distance series against the Spruce Kings, who finished first in the Mainland Division in the regular season. The Eagles finished 12 points back of their northern rivals, but did win five of eight head-to-head matchups during the season.

Surrey went a perfect 4-0 against them in South Surrey, but won just one of four game in Prince George’s Rolling Mix Concrete Arena.

West, however, wasn’t concerning himself with regular-season statistics – good, bad or otherwise.

“Playoffs are a whole new season, so we don’t look back at any of that stuff,” he said.

“We know it’s going to be fast, and it’s going to be tight – I think it has all the makings of a great series.”

Just Posted

Artist, history buff named Surrey Civic Treasures for 2018

Roxanne Charles and Jim Foulkes to be recognized at Oct. 2 event

Surrey woman’s ‘tell-all’ book aims to help those struggling with domestic violence

Second book details abusive marriage, how people failed her

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner bids farewell in tearful State of City Address

Outgoing mayor announces Director of Housing, looks back at Surrey’s evolution, and pokes fun at her ‘media missteps’

ZYTARUK: Hepner, to her credit, rose to the occasion

She could have used her last address to make political digs, pitches and slights. She did not.

VIDEO: Story surrounding new playground at Surrey hospital a real ‘tear-jerker’

Dad began planning after his son had surgery in Surrey and he saw too many sad faces

The longest week: Carolinas worn out by Florence

Frustration and sheer exhaustion are building as thousands of people wait to go home seven days after the storm began battering the coast.

Vancouver councillors move ahead with policy for duplexes on detached home lots

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the decision is another step toward adding homes in the city for the so-called “missing middle.”

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Canada’s goal is to play in a medal game at World Cup in Spain

The 2014 women’s world basketball championships were a coming out party for Canada.

World Anti-Doping Agency reinstates Russia

There was no mention of Russia publicly accepting a state-sponsored conspiracy to help its athletes win Olympic medals by doping.

Burnaby pedestrian in hospital after being hit crossing busy street

Driver remained on scene, is speaking to RCMP

Nanaimo’s Tilray pot stock continues rising, firm now worth more than $21 billion US

The B.C. company’s shares have risen more than 1,000 % since its initial public offering in July

Most Read