The Michael Santaguida show continues.
In Games 1 and 2 against the Penticton Vees, the Surrey Eagles netminder made 81 saves on 83 shots. He made another 37 stops Monday night at Penticton’s South Okanagan Events Centre. Just one thing was different: The Eagles lost 3-2 and led the BCHL championship best-of-seven series 2-1 heading into Game 4 Tuesday night (Check www.pentictonwesternnews.com for game story.)
There may be chinks in Santaguida’s armour. He was beaten three times on his glove side. Twice upstairs on lethal wrist shots from Brad McClure, and once low courtesy of Cody DePourcq, who got the crowd of 1,760 on its feet. DePourcq’s winner came on a two-on-one play set up by Travis Blanleil, who while rushing down the left wing accepted a pass from defenceman James de Haas.
“I didn’t get on top of the puck well enough,” Santaquida said following the game. “He made a good shot over top of my pad. Right in the little corner. I thought I had it to be honest.”
DePourcq said Santaguida’s been good all series.
“We’re starting to figure out a way to beat him,” said DePourcq. “We are going to keep shooting the puck and going hard to the net. Wouldn’t say (glove side) is his weak side. Tonight it seemed like it was. That’s where Brad scored both his goals. I think it’s something we’re a little curious at.”
DePourcq said the win has given him and his teammates more confidence.
“You have to give respect to the goalie, he’s played unbelievable,” said DePourcq.
McClure was happy to help offensively because he knows he’s counted on for that and had yet to score in the series. McClure, who now leads the Vees in playoff goal scoring with seven in 12 games, said the team has been executing well, but bounces just didn’t go their way.
“We couldn’t stay out of the box,” said McClure, who is committed to Ferris State University for 2014-15. “I think tonight that was a huge key in our success. Staying out of the box.”
The Vees only gave the Eagles one power play on which they got a goal from former Vee Brady Shaw. When it came to Santaguida’s play, McClure expects it to continue. Santaguida said he feels he has been playing well.
“I feel our back end has been playing excellent,” he said. “Keeping the majority of shots to the outside, letting me see a lot of pucks. Today we gave up a power-play goal and a short-handed goal, which in the playoffs can’t happen. That was the difference today.”
In facing the Vees, Santaguida has learned they moved the puck well.
“I have to be patient. When they look like they are shooting, they dish it off back-door half the time,” said Santaguida, who played two years of United States High School hockey with Avon Old Farms before joining the Eagles. “They are a really patient team. They know what they are doing with the puck and see the ice well.”
Game 5 will take place at the South Surrey Arena tomorrow with puck drop at 7:15 p.m.