SERIES- Surrey kept their season alive with a 3-1 game five win in Powell River one night ago. Hayden Trupp and Richard Vanderhoek scored less than five minutes apart in the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Karel St. Laurent was brilliant in goal once again, stopping 44 of 45 shots and earning first start honours. The Kings have another opportunity tonight to close out the series in South Surrey, a place where they have won twice so far in the series.
Kings- Powell River continues to be plagued by an offense that is struggling to score goals. The Kings through five games have eleven goals but take away the four in game one and the team has scored seven in four games. In the last four games the Kings are averaging just fewer than two goals a game at 1.75. That’s despite putting 109 shots on the Surrey net in the past two games. That’s just a shooting percentage of 2.75%, you can see where I’m going with this. For the scoring woes to be turned around the Kings will need better contributions offensively from all areas.
Hampering the offense is the hot and cold power-play. The Kings looked like they were back on track after three goals in games three and four. Furthermore last night the Kings only goal came on the man advantage. However, that goal came on a five on three and they were left off the score sheet the rest of the way. Their last power-play was late in the second while still leading by one and had a chance to bulge their lead to two. Situations like those have plagued the Kings in the playoffs. This team needs to start punishing Surrey when on the PP.
Lastly, the Kings in the second and third period were being beat too many times to the puck in their own zone, in particular below the circles. The Kings bread and butter all season has been their board and down low play in both zones. The first period was a prime example as Powell River seemed to be winning every battle but as the game progressed their zone play regressed. The team will have to be more physical along the boards and smarter with the puck deep in their end.
Eagles- Surrey put in their best effort in game five and showed they didn’t want to have their season ended. The Eagles were under pressure for most of the night, including in the first period. However the birds did hang around long enough to pounce on two King mistakes and ride them to victory. You could say it was a rope-a-dope style employed by Matt Erhart’s team for most of the night. Early in the first period Surrey was very aggressive and maybe too aggressive as they ran into penalty trouble. After the power-play goal by Craig Dalyrymple the Eagles looked like the refocused and started to get better as the game wore on.
The Eagles who are usually aggressive on the fore check and in the neutral zone, backed off somewhat and gave the Kings a tough task of trying to navigate through the middle of the ice. Surrey defenders did an effective job of stalling numerous King rushes at the blue-line. Powell River were thwarted many times trying to rush the puck wide and were mostly kept on the outside for the remaining forty minutes.
Karel St. Laurent continues to be the main story in this series for the Eagles. The twenty year-old from Quebec has stopped 106 of the last 109 shots he has faced. The lanky goaltender is excellent up high with his glove and blocker and last night was no different. The Kings have given him confidence and that can be a scary thing at this time of year. The key for Powell River will be generating more traffic in and around the Surrey net.
WHO’S HOT- Craig Dalrymple has one goal and four points in his last three games. Dalrymple and Jon Jutzi are looking like a formidable duo when paired together on the power-play. Matt Garbowsky hasn’t scored since game one, which was an empty net. He does have however, four points in five games against the Eagles.
Richard Vanderhoek continues to put up points in the series. The winger has points in four of the five games including two goals and five points.
Stat Pack: The Road team in the series is 4-1 and 8-2 in both conference finals.