The Surrey Eagles’ season ended Sunday in Prince George the same way as it began back on October – with a loss.
The Birds wrapped up a disappointing campaign with four games on the road last weekend, first losing a pair of mid-week games – 3-2 to the Vernon Vipers and 11-0 to the high-powered Penticton Vees – before heading to Prince George for back-to-back contests against the Spruce Kings.
Surrey lost the first, on Saturday, by a 5-1 score before dropping the season finale 7-2.
For the season, the Eagles’ finish with a record 7-48-1-2 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie); it’s the second consecutive season in which the team failed to reach double-digits in wins.
Sunday’s 7-2 loss was, in a way, a decent microcosm of the season as a whole. Surrey gave up a goal just 31 seconds into the game, but were still within striking distance after the first period, trailing just 2-1, before things fell apart over the final 40 minutes.
Prince George – the only other team, aside from Surrey, not to qualify for playoffs in the Mainland Division – scored twice in the second period and tacked on three more in the third to cruise to the win.
And, as was often the case throughout the season, 20-year-old netminder Justin Laforest was the busiest goaltender on the ice, stopping 30 of 37 shots on goal.
Jaxon Joseph and captain Paul McAvoy scored the two goals for Surrey.
Saturday’s game was equally tough on the Birds, especially from an offensive standpoint, as the team managed just 21 shots on goal, and the only player able to beat Spruce Kings’ netminder Joseph McLeod was 20-year-old veteran Kurt Black, who scored his team-best 19th goal of the season in the penultimate game of his junior-hockey career.
Daniel Davidson was between the pipes for Surrey, stopping 37 shots.
Prior to the trip to the BCHL’s northern-most city, the Eagles made a two-game stop in the Okanagan on Tuesday and Wednesday last week.
On Tuesday in Vernon, the Eagles came within a hair of the earning the win, but saw an early two-goal lead evaporate before losing 3-2 in double overtime.
Tyler Andrews opened the scoring midway through the first period to give the Eagles an early lead, and Jeff Stewart made it 2-0 just 5:15 into the second period.
The Vipers stormed back in the latter half of the second frame, scoring twice to tie it.
Neither team could bulge the twine in the third period or the first five-minute OT frame, before Vipers’ Odeen Tufto finally broke the deadlock during the 3-on-3 second-overtime period.
Surrey didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss, however, and quickly headed south to Penticton, where they proved to be no match for the Vees, who finished first in the entire BCHL with 101 points and lost as many games – seven – as the Eagles’ won all season.
Penticton scored four goals in the first period, added two more in the second and five more in the third.
Tyson Jost – a potential first-round pick in this summer’s NHL draft – scored once and added four assists to lead the Vees’ charge.
Though the season is over for Surrey, the BCHL’s playoff-bound teams will begin play Friday. In the Mainland Division, the Langley Rivermen will square off against Wenatchee in one best-of-seven series, while Chilliwack and Coquitlam will play off in the other.