Hudson Schandor scored two goals and Christian Fitzgerald scored his second game winning goal in as many games as the Surrey Eagles defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs 3-2 Sunday night at the Chilliwack Coliseum.
Pushed to the brink of elimination, the Eagles got a late goal in the third period from Fitzgerald in game six to come from behind to force a seventh and deciding game. One night later the 17-year old forward played the hero again in the third period for the Eagles who now move on to face the Coquitlam Express in round two of the BCHL playoffs.
Fitzgerald, who scored just three goals and three assists in 44 regular season games, equaled those exact totals in the seven game series against the Chiefs.
For Chilliwack, it was the third straight year they found themselves in a game seven situation in the opening round of the playoffs.
Surrey opened the scoring at the 2:58 mark of the first period. With Joey Larson in the box serving a double-minor for high-sticking, Schandor scored on the power-play to put the Eagles up 1-0.
The Eagles captain doubled the Surrey lead just past the midway mark of the second period. Christophe Tellier and Schandor moved up the ice and completed a sequence of nice cross ice passes before Schandor slid the puck across the goal line and off the inside of the post that just barely got over the line past goaltender Mathieu Caron. Clarke Nelson got the Chiefs to within a goal three minutes later when he drifted to the high slot and let a slap shot go that beat Tommy Scarfone to make it 2-1. A minute and a half later a Jack Agnew blast from the point got past Scarfone to tie the game 2-2.
Chilliwack outshot Surrey 19-9 in the middle period.
At the 7:58 mark of the third period, Fitzgerald fired a seemingly harmless shot go towards the Chilliwack goal that would have missed the net, however as Caron reached up to grab it in the air it went off his glove and into the net.
It was a jaw-dropping moment for everyone who watched it happen.
Despite a strong push by the home side, Surrey was able to hold on and escape with the victory.
Chilliwack outshot Surrey 13-6 in the final period and 40-23 in the game.
For the second straight home game, Chilliwack did not get a power-play opportunity. Surrey went 1-for-2 on the man-advantage.
Chilliwack finished the series 3-for-14 on the power-play while Surrey went 5-for-29.
Written by: Vanni De Bartolo, Chiefs Play-by-Play broadcaster