Surrey Eagles drop pair on road

BC Hockey League team suffers losses to Vees, Rivermen; now prepares for homestand.

On the most ghoulish weekend of the year – just days before Halloween –  the scariest thing for the Surrey Eagles was the BC Hockey League scoreboard.

The Eagles – who’d been on a relative roll of late, with recent wins over some division rivals – went winless in two road games last week, against the Penticton Vees and Langley Rivermen.

The loss to Penticton came Thursday, a 3-0 shutout defeat in front of an announced crowd of nearly 3,000 at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

Vees netminder Mathew Robson earned the shutout for the home side, though the Eagles didn’t challenge him often, only sending 19 shots on goal his direction.

In the other net, Surrey’s Michael Botiz – whose been key in the team’s recent turnaround since his arrival via trade last month – stopped 26 of 29 Penticton shots.

Joseph Leahy, Grant Cruikshank and Ty Barnstable scored for the Vees.

On Saturday at Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre, Surrey lost 3-2 to the Rivermen after a late-game comeback attempt fell just short.

Langley led 1-0 after the first period – on a goal from Eric Butte – and extended the lead to 2-0 in the second period when Brendan Budy scored on Botiz.

The Eagles finally got the offence on track in the third period, with goals from Jordan Robert and Desi Burgart coming in the first three minutes – just 39 seconds apart – but the tie score lasted less than a minute, as Langley’s Nicholas Ponak scored what turned out to be the wining goal at the 3:47 mark of the period.

Botiz stopped 27 shots despite being tagged with the loss, while Langley goalie Bo Didur – a former Eagle – made 23 saves for the winning squad.

Despite having the league’s No. 1-ranked power play with a 28.8 per cent success rate, the Eagles failed to generate much with the man advantage in either contest. They scored once on five opportunities against Langley, but were 0-for-5 against Penticton.

The two losses dropped the Eagles’ record to 4-11-2-0 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), which sits them at the bottom of the BCHL’s Mainland Division, though they’re just four points back of the Coquitlam Express and have played two less games.

After recent trips to Prince George and the Okanagan, the Eagles now prepare for a few games closer to home.

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., they’ll host the Rivermen at South Surrey Arena, before heading back to the George Preston Centre Friday for a rematch.

On Sunday, the Birds are back in their own barn for a 4 p.m. tilt with the visiting Vernon Vipers.

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