Surrey Eagles defenceman Nick Minerva celebrates after scoring a goal Sunday against Wenatchee.

Surrey Eagles derail Express before OT loss to Wild

Three wins in last six games for BCHL squad, with Wenatchee next on the schedule

A week after earning three of a possible four points on an Okanagan road trip, the Surrey Eagles did it again – this time on home ice.

On Thursday, the Eagles cruised to a 4-0 shutout win over the Coquitlam Express on the backs of rookie forward Nick Fea, who scored twice, and goaltender Daniel Davidson, who stopped 22 shots en route to his first career BC Hockey League shutout.

Three days later, on Sunday afternoon at South Surrey Arena, the Birds picked up another point in the standings – and nearly two – after a 6-5 loss to the Wenatchee Wild, who are still undefeated through 11 games and considered one of the top teams in the entire Canadian Junior Hockey League.

“We’re really rolling now, and we were in a very good position to get the win (Sunday) too,” said Eagles coach Blaine Neufeld.

“They really fought for 65 minutes.”

After three periods of high-scoring back-and-forth play, Wenatchee’s A.J. Vanderbeck ended the game 2:51 into overtime to give the visiting Washington squad the extra point.

The overtime frame nearly went the other direction, however, as Surrey captain Paul McAvoy nearly ended the game two minutes earlier but – with the Eagles on a four-on-three power play that had carried over from the third period – was robbed at the side of the net by Wild netminder Anthony Yamnitsky.

“The boys were really moving the puck around well, but their goalie made a heck of a save,” Neufeld said.

The would-be overtime marker would’ve been the third of the game of McAvoy, who also scored in the first and second periods.

Other Surrey goals were scored by Darius Davidson – who leads the team with nine in 11 games – defenceman Nick Minerva and Logan Mostat.

Michael Botiz was tagged with the loss in net, though he stopped 39 Wenatchee shots.

The Eagles’ offence was in fine form Thursday, as well. After neither team scored in the first 20 minutes, Fea scored the first two goals – “He had a really big week,” said Neufeld – and Jeff Stewart and Andrew Kemp also added insurance goals in the third.

And while the offensive explosion over the two games was welcome, Neufeld gave plenty of credit to his two netminders for helping the team right the ship after starting the season with six straight losses.

The team currently sits with a 3-7-2-0 record (win-loss-overtime loss-tie) but all three victories have come since the acquisition of Botiz, whom was picked up from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

“I think our goaltending has been really strong. Michael has come in here and certainly got us going a little bit, and it was great to see Daniel get his first shutout, too,” Neufeld said.

“But we’ve also been playing much more soundly (defensively), as a five-man group out there.”

Neufeld said the team’s recent surge – three wins and two overtime losses in the last six games – has validated the work the organization did over the summer, specifically in providing the roster with an influx of speed and offensive skill.

“We did a great job recruiting in the summer – I knew we did – so the start we had was a little bit shocking,” he said.

“But even in those losses, they were all close, except for one where I thought we were a little bit tired. But we identified some challenges and we’ve tried to fix them and make them into strengths.”

Two of the team’s three wins – and both overtime defeats – have come against Mainland Division rivals, which Neufeld was also pleased about.

“Those are the games you have to win, and we’re winning them, or at least picking up points in the ones we’re losing,” he said.

“And we’ve played a few less games than everyone else and are just one point back of (fourth) place. We’re in a really good spot to make a run here and catapult some teams.”

The Eagles will get another crack at the Wild Thursday, when they host the squad at South Surrey Arena. The puck drops at 6:30 p.m.

From there, the Eagles will head north to Prince George for two weekend games against the Spruce Kings.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Chilliwack man who sexually assaulted young boys released from prison

Statutory release for Don Putt who Parole Board calls an ‘untreated sex offender’

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Surrey man charged in 2019 Vancouver homicide

Chad Harry, 32, charged with second-degree murder in killing of 35-year-old Cong Tran

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Most Read