Holden Katzalay scored the overtime winner Saturday night in Prince George to give the Surrey Eagles a 4-3 win over the Spruce Kings. Garrett James photo

Surrey Eagles open BCHL season with pair of road wins

New-look squad earns weekend victories against defending champion Prince George Spruce Kings

The new-look Surrey Eagles got off to a roaring start on the weekend, winning their first two games of the BC Hockey League season – in hostile territory, no less.

The Eagles – with an almost entirely new roster and a new head coach in Cam Keith – earned road victories Friday and Saturday over the Prince George Spruce Kings, who are the defending BCHL champions and finished last season as the No. 2 junior ‘A’ team in Canada. In the season-opener Friday, the Birds won 4-2, and came back 24 hours later and won 4-3 in overtime.

On Friday, the Eagles fell behind 1-0 midway through the first period, as Prince George’s Finlay Williams energized the crowd of more than 1,200 fans with the first goal of the season, but the slim lead lasted only six minutes, when Surrey’s Adamo Santia knotted the game at 1-1 after his shot deflected off the stick of Spruce King goalie Jett Alexander and went into the net.

The visitors took a stranglehold on the game in the middle period, with Carter King and Hudson Schandor – both new to the team this season – each scoring to give Surrey a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. In the third, the Kings cut the deficit in half when Williams scored his second of the game just past the 12-minute mark, and the game stayed 3-2 until Surrey forward Christophe Tellier – acquired this summer from the Wenatchee Wild – slid a puck into the empty net to secure the win.

Thomas Scarfone, yet another newcomer to the Eagles’ nest, earned the win with 31 saves.

Scarfone got the night off for Game 2, as the Eagles went with rookie Cal Schell between the pipes. The 18-year-old Burlington, Ont. native was equally as strong as his colleague, stopping 30 shots on goal. None of those shots came in the overtime frame, however, as Surrey kept the home team at bay while peppering Alexander with three shots in 29 seconds, before Holden Katzalay – a rare returnee from last season – potted the winning marker on a rebound.

Tellier, Santia and defenceman Brett Bliss rounded out the scoring for Surrey. Bliss scored with less than four minutes to go in the third period to send the game into overtime.

“The boys showed a lot of character, and never wavered, especially in the third period,” Keith said.

Though the sample size – just two games out of 58 – is small, the results can’t be viewed as anything but positive for the Eagles, especially when compared to last season. Last September, the Eagles – still adjusting to a new coach after Brandon West left the team just a few weeks before – began the season with five straight losses, and just two wins in their first nine games.

In a post published to the Eagles’ official website, assistant coach Brad Tobin – who was on the staff during last season – described this year’s opening weekend as “a breath of fresh air.”

“There’s definitely belief in this room, already. It’s fun to be a part of and (we’ll) see where it goes from here.”

With their first northern road trip out of the way, the Eagles will return to South Surrey Arena this week for their home opener, which is set for Friday night against the division rival Coquitlam Express. Puck drop is 7 p.m. It’s the only game of the weekend for the squad, who head right back out on the road the next week, for a two-game trip to Vancouver Island.



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey school district to allow students to miss class for global climate strike

Students must be excused from school by parents; will be able to make up missed work without penalty

Surrey rallies for change in global climate strike

Holland Park event part of marches around the world Sept. 20

Surrey RCMP need help to find missing man

Denis Godard, 64, who was reported missing on Sept. 19

Little library stolen in Clayton Heights

Thieves permanently check out family’s book collection

Surrey council sends back 25-storey highrise proposal, asks for more height and density

Developer says it is ‘currently reviewing direction’ from mayor, council

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Oak Bay father’s testimony at murder trial like plot of ‘bad low-budget movie:’ Crown

Crown alleged Andrew Berry’s ‘entire story of Christmas Day is a lie’

Most Read