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Surrey Eagles in first after success on road

BCHL team tied with Chilliwack Chiefs for first place in Mainland Division
Surrey Eagles netminder Michael Santaguida

Since Christmas, the Surrey Eagles have been busy both on and off the ice.

Between the boards, the teams has won three of four on the road – including back-to-back shutouts over division rivals Chilliwack and Coquitlam – boosting their BC Hockey League record to 21-10-1-3, which is good for a first-place time with the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Last weekend, the Eagles earned a split on their two-game road trip to the Interior, beating the Trail Smoke Eaters 6-3 Friday before falling to the Penticton Vees 3-2 in overtime Saturday night.

Against the Vees, the Eagles fell behind 2-0 but got two third-period goals from Brady Shaw to send the game to OT, where Penticton’s Troy Stecher potted the winner at the 55-second mark.

The day before in Trail, Shaw again scored twice – boosting his team-leading goal mark to 22 – while captain Brett Mulcahy had a goal and two assists. Devon Toews chipped in with two helpers as well.

The previous week, Surrey netminder Michael Santaguida posted back-to-back shutouts, stopping 41 shots against the Chiefs Dec. 29, before stopping 32 the following night against Coquitlam.

While Santaguida was the star in the victory over the Express, Coquitlam goalie Cole Huggins was even busier, as the Eagles peppered him with a season-high 62 shots on net. Craig Wyszomirski and Mason Blacklock each scored for Surrey.

Off the the ice, Surrey also swung a pair of trades between Christmas and New Year’s, first acquiring 20-year-old defenceman Troy Paterson – son of former Eagles’ owner and current governor Ronnie Paterson – from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for future considerations. Then, to make room for Paterson on the blue-line, Surrey coach/GM Matt Erhart sent rookie Austen Bietenbeck to his hometown Langley Rivermen, also in exchange for futures.

“We think Austen has a great future ahead of him, but we felt we needed to get a little more experience on our roster,” Erhart said. “We think that we get that veteran experience with Troy, but… we had to give up a quality young player.”

Meanwhile, two players – Santaguida and Wyszomirski – both inked scholarships between Christmas and New Year’s. Santaguida has committed to join the University of Vermont, while Wyszomirski will play next season with Merrimack College.

“I wanted to go to a place where the team wanted me and really wanted to invest in me as a player,” said Santaguida. “That was the biggest thing for me.”