A third-period goal from Ashton Calder fuelled a 4-3 Surrey Eagles’ victory against the Coquitlam Express last week, in a game billed by the home team as “Corner Gas Night.”
The game – played at Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports and Leisure Centre Dec. 30 – featured guest appearances by Corner Gas actors Lorne Cardinal and Fred Ewanuick, but the real stars of the show were the visiting Eagles, who took two points from their division rivals and stayed within striking distance of the last playoff spot in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division.
The win – which came in the Birds’ first game back after the holiday break – gives Surrey a 14-21-2-0 record (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), good for 30 points in the standings. Sitting in fifth spot, they remain nine points shy of the fourth-place Langley Rivermen, whose surge up the standings last month has resulted in them currently holding the fourth and final playoff position with about 20 games left to play.
Though the Eagles’ game against the Express featured seven total goals, the goaltenders from each team – Keelan Williams for Surrey and Reid Cooper for Coquitlam – were two of the game’s stars, and busiest players.
Williams stopped 36 shots to earn the win – making several key saves along the way – while Cooper was peppered with 46 Surrey shots, including 19 in the second period.
The home team took a 1-0 lead midway through the first period on a goal from Keegan Jones, but Jordan Robert – who also had an assist in the game – tied the score five minutes later with his seven goal of the season.
The second period was the busiest one for both netminders, with Surrey surging ahead with back-to-back goals from Darius Davidson – who scored his team-best 20th – and captain Paul McAvoy. The lead didn’t last long, however, as Coquitlam’s Luca Leone scored 23 seconds after McAvoy’s marker, and teammate Jake Toor tied the game two minutes later to send both teams into the second intermission tied 3-3.
Calder’s game-winner – which he scored on a wrist shot from the high slot – came less than two minutes into the third period, with the Eagles on a power play.
The Express had a few chances later in the period to tie the game, but were stymied each time by Williams. Conversely, the Eagles had a handful of chances to extend the lead in the final frame – McAvoy missed on a breakaway, and also hit the post with the home team’s net empty in the game’s waning moments.
The Eagles hit the ice for their first game of 2017 yesterday (Thursday) at South Surrey Arena against the Wenatchee Wild, but the game was played after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.
As they have been all season, the Wild are currently in first place in the Mainland Division as well as the entire BCHL, having lost just six games all season. One of those losses, however, has come against the Eagles.
With the Eagles in the thick of the playoff hunt – for the first time in three seasons – there may be a roster or addition or two in the next week, as the trade deadline approaches.
The Canadian Junior Hockey League’s trade deadline set for Jan. 10.