Surrey’s Jonah Renouf celebrates a third-period goal Saturday night against the Merritt Centennials.

Eagles split pair of games with Merritt

Surrey Eagle head coach calls for more consistent effort on defence

Another weekend, another split decision for the Surrey Eagles.

A day after a one-goal loss to the Centennial Friday night in Merritt, the BC Hockey League club returned the favour on home ice, edged the visiting Cents 2-1 in front of an announced crowd of more than 980.

Saturday’s low-scoring affair featured the Eagles’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, in which fans toss stuffed animals on the ice when the home team scores first. And this year, the team made those fans hold onto the bears a little longer than they would have liked, as the Birds didn’t get on the board until the 40-second mark of the third period, when Jonah Renouf finally broke the goose egg and caused stuffed toys to litter the ice.

“It was good to get that one. We weren’t sure if we were going to have to make the fans come back the next game (to throw the bears),” quipped head coach Peter Schaefer.

In addition to triggering the bear-toss, Renouf’s marker – his 10th of the season – tied the game at 1-1. Merritt’s Jeff Wright had given the Centennials a 1-0 lead in the first period, when, with Surrey’s Joseph Drapluk serving a hooking penalty, he beat Eagles’ goaltender for a power-play goal 3:40 into the game.

Less than seven minutes later, Eagles’ forward Danton Heinen scored the game-winner on the power play.

“It was just one of those low-scoring, playoff-style games. It was a good team effort and we were happy to get the win,” said Schaefer.

Surrey managed just 27 shots on Merritt netminder Devin Kero, while the Centennials fired just 21 on Eagles goalie Devon Fordyce.

The tilt was a far cry from Friday’s offensive slugfest, which saw the Eagles hold a one-goal lead on four different occasions before Merritt scored twice in the final two minutes to steal the two points.

“We got the lead, and were playing OK, but just weren’t able to hold onto it. We lost the game, but we battled really hard,” Schaefer said.

Surrey got goals from Darious Davidson, Renouf, Brett Mulcahy and Luke Sandler.

Bo Didur was tagged with the loss in net for Surrey, stopping 25 of 30 shots on goal.

The .500 weekend leaves then with an 11-16-1 record, 13 points back of the BCHL Mainland Division lead, which is held by the Prince George Spruce Kings, who have 36 points.

And despite the gap in points, if a team were to get on a hot streak, the order at the top could change quickly – no team in the Mainland Divison has won more than two games in a row.

In the two-game set with Merritt, Schaefer saw signs that his team was ready to pull itself out of its frequent “win one, lose one” pattern, but said overall, he still needed to see consistency from his team, especially defensively.

“We just have to be patient. There are games where I think we’re getting better, but then there are games where we go out and give up five goals,” he said.

“We still need to find that consistency. Hopefully we can figure it out and put a winning streak together here. If we don’t, we’ll continue to win one and lose one every weekend.”

Surrey plays at home Wednesday, 7 p.m., against the Coquitlam Express, and Friday heads to Coquitlam for a return engagement.

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