Spectators expecting a silent night at the Surrey Eagles’ final game before Christmas were out of luck Thursday as the sound of goal sirens rang like silver bells throughout South Surrey Arena.
In front of a sparse crowd of just over 500 fans, the Eagles defeated the Prince George Spruce Kings 5-3, thanks to a pair of goals from Braeden Russell and a 25-save effort from goaltender Bo Didur.
The win edged the suddenly streaking Eagles – now winners of three consecutive games – to within two points of the third-place Coquitlam Express in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division. Surrey’s fourth-place record of 16-19-1-0 further distanced themselves from the fifth-place Chilliwack Chiefs, who are mired in a 10-game losing streak, and sit in the cellar of the division, 16 points back of the Birds.
On Thursday, neither the Eagles nor Spruce Kings managed much offence in the opening period; neither team scored, and the shots were just 7-5 in favour of the visiting team.
Action picked up in the second period, however, as captain Brett Mulcahy staked his team to a 1-0 lead just 1:59 into the frame.
Russell, on the power play, doubled the home side’s cushion to 2-0 just under 10 minutes later, with Luke Sandler and Jonah Renouf adding assists.
Less than two minutes after Russell’s goal, Prince George replied when Jake LeBrun beat Didur to make it 2-1, but Russell’s second goal 1:19 later restored Surrey’s two-goal lead.
Prince George’s Jeremiah Luedtke made it 3-2 before the second intermission.
In the third, Nathan Renouf scored at the 2:17 mark, and Mitch Eden tallied for the visitors before Eagles’ leading goal-scorer Nic Pierog – who now has 23 goals on the season – added an empty-netter to salt away the game.
Not only did Pierog’s late marker give him the team-lead in goals – one better than Mulcahy’s 22 – but it also put him third in BCHL goal-scoring heading into the holiday break.
The only players who’ve lit the lamp more than Pierog this season are Salmon Arm’s Landon Smith and Penticton’s Brad McClure, who had 30 and 28 goals, respectively.
The Eagles return to the ice this Saturday, when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs at South Surrey Arena at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, they’ll head down the highway to Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre for a 5 p.m. rematch.