The Family Day holiday weekend unfolded as expected for the Surrey Eagles with the Birds losing to one of the B.C. Hockey League’s top teams followed by a win over one of the loop’s cellar dwellers.
The Eagles opened the weekend on Saturday night against the visiting Penticton Vees at South Surrey Arena, a game that served as a rematch of last spring’s BCHL championship final. The Eagles prevailed in six games last April, but the Vees showed why they are back among the league’s elite this year by blanking the Birds 3-0. The Vees survived an early flurry from the Eagles before asserting themselves with two power-play goals before the end of the first period. Penticton added another goal in the middle frame before clamping down in the third period to wrap up the 3-0 shutout win.
Vees goalie Hunter Miska stopped 29 Surrey shots to earn the goose egg.
"It was actually a pretty good game," said Eagles coach Peter Schaefer. "We took the play to them in the first period and we got some power plays but we just couldn’t score. Then they ended up getting three powerplay goals and that was the difference. "To be honest, the game was lost for us in the first period when we didn’t capitalize on those power plays. Their goalie played good and we couldn’t get inside their defencemen to get to the rebounds. He was kicking them out, but we just couldn’t get to them."
The Eagles were back on South Surrey ice Monday afternoon for a matinee match in which the home side outlasted the last-place Chilliwack Chiefs 7-6. While goals were hard to come by Saturday night, that was not the case Monday as the two teams combined to score five times in the first period alone. Surrey trailed 3-2 after the opening frame, but took over the lead with a pair of unanswered markers in the second period.
The Eagles stretched their lead with a power-play goal 25 seconds into the third period only to have the Chiefs storm back with three straight goals to take a 5-4 lead at the midway point. Undaunted, Surrey tied the game two minutes later, setting the stage for Braedan Russell’s game winner with 40 seconds remaining.
"It was one of those ugly games with lots of goals and the last shot wins," Schaefer grumbled.
"I’m happy with the outcome, but other than that I guess we were just due for one of those types of games. Nobody was outstanding, but when you’re in a game like that everybody has their moments. The biggest thing is we got away with the two points."
Danton Heinen led all Eagles snipers with three goals while Russell and Jonah Renouf finished the game with two goals each.
The Eagles host Salmon Arm Friday night (7 p.m.) before heading up the valley for another date with Chilliwack Saturday.