A long road trip up north failed to pay dividends for the Surrey Eagles Saturday night, as the BC Hockey League squad dropped a 3-0 decision to the Prince George Spruce Kings.
And though the Eagles avoided – for the first time all season – a win-one-lose-one weekend, they likely would’ve taken that as opposed to their Saturday result, in which the offense failed to get a puck past Spruce Kings netminder Kirk Thompson.
“I actually thought we played quite well. We got 38 shots on net in a road game, but their goalie just made some real good saves,” said Eagles coach Matt Erhart.
“We had some chances, but we hit three or four posts, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
The shutout was the first time all season the Eagles failed to find the back of the net in a game, and was the second loss this month to their Prince George division rivals; on Oct. 5, the Kings won 4-1 at South Surrey Arena.
With Saturday’s loss, the Eagles fell into a tie for last-place in the five-team Mainland Division, with a 5-5-0-1 record. Both the Eagles and Langley Rivermen have 11 points, six back of the first-place Coquitlam Express.
Against Prince George Saturday, the Eagles peppered Thompson – a Guildford resident and former Valley West Hawk of B.C.’s major-midget league – with 38 shots on goal, including 18-shot barrage in the third period, but could not break the goose egg on the scoreboard.
Prince George’s top line of Cam Lawson, Shayne Morrissey and Sean Landrey combined to score all three of the home team’s goals.
After an ill-timed pinch by an Eagles’ defenceman, Lawson gave the Spruce Kings the lead 18:06 into the first period on an odd-man rush, with Morrissey and Landrey picking up assists, and Morrissey – firing home a rebound on the power play after Mitch Eden’s point shot missed the net and bounced off the end boards – and Lawson each scored second-period goals to extend the lead.
Special teams were rarely a factor, as the Eagles went scoreless on just three power-play chances, while Prince George was one-for-one, scoring with Eagles captain Brandon Morley serving the team’s lone infraction, a slashing minor.
While he would’ve obviously liked to have seen his team beat Thompson at least once, Erhart said he wasn’t concerned with the team’s lack of offense, but said the team can’t afford for the dry spell to continue for long.
“Obviously it’s always a little worrisome when you don’t score, but I’d be a lot more worried if we weren’t getting chances at all,” he said. “We competed hard, but we have some guys who need to finish, and start putting some pucks in the net here.
Michael Santaguida got the call between the pipes for the Eagles, stopping 34 shots on net.
The Birds are back on home ice this week, hosting the Vernon Vipers Friday at 7 p.m., followed by a 4 p.m. Sunday game against the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters.
“It’s time for us to put a little bit of a streak together here, and there’s no better place to do that than at home,” Erhart said of the weekend contests.
Both games are part of the Eagles’ Pink in the Rink campaign, which aims to raise money and awareness of breast-cancer research.