The Surrey Eagles’ struggles on home ice continued on the weekend, but the team managed to pick up a single point in the BC Hockey League standings, after a shootout loss Sunday to the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters.
The Eagles saw a slim 3-2 lead slip away in the third period against the Smokies, who tied the game midway through the final frame and then won in the penalty-shot contest. The loss came a day after Surrey dropped a 6-2 decision to the Powell River Kings at South Surrey Arena.
The two losses dropped the Eagles overall record to 6-16-0-1 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss), but all but one of the squad’s victories have come away from home; Surrey has a league-worst 1-8 home record.
“There might just be too many distractions at home,” suggested Eagles head coach Peter Schaefer, speaking on the team’s broadcast prior to Sunday’s showdown with Trail. “(On the road), you get to get away and just focus on hockey.”
Being able to cut down on mistakes would also go a long way to earning a few more ‘W’s this season, he added.
“Last game, we came out hard, but just didn’t get any breaks early, and then as per usual, we were having breakdowns. It’s just a matter of when we’ll have a breakdown… until we get a full 60 minutes of compete, and limit turnovers, and stay out of the box (it will continue).
“If we can do that, I think we’ll have some success, but that’s been the struggle thus far in the season.”
Injuries and suspensions also haven’t helped the team’s cause. For much of the past few weeks, the team has played with less than a full roster – even with affiliate players added. On Sunday, they played with only 10 forwards instead of the usually 12.
Playing in front of an announced crowd of 640, the Eagles opened the scoring on a first-period goal from Nico Marini, a Burnaby Winter Club player who was only in his second career BCHL game.
In the second period, Trail’s Owen Ozar tied the game at 1-1 but the Eagles responded with a pair of goals in quick succession – Chase Stevenson scored his ninth of the year just over a minute later, followed by a tally from Riley Hayles – to retake the lead.
Trail’s Braeden Tuck cut the lead to 3-2 before the second intermission, but the Birds held tight to a one-goal cushion until Smoke Eaters’ Carter Jones tied the game with an unassisted marker 9:19 into the third.
The game then went into overtime, which solved nothing, but did include a highlight reel-worthy diving stop from Surrey netminder Cayden Bailey, which kept the game tied and ensured a shootout would follow.
Good luck finding a crazier game-saving stop than the one @cayde25 made in overtime today (HINT: You won't)
— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) November 5, 2018
Trail got the better of the home team in the shootout, to steal the extra point. Bailey – who didn’t dressed for many games in October as the team sorted out a crowded, three-goaltender situation that ended in the trading away of Daniel Davidson – finished the game with 32 saves.
It was Bailey’s first game action since Oct. 6.
On Friday night, Powell River was in town, and jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period before Holden Katzalay got the Eagles on the scoreboard with his sixth of the game.
Ty Westgard scored the team’s only other goal – his team-best ninth.
The Eagles are on the road this week, and will cover a lot of ground over a three-day span. On Friday, they’ll head to Wenatchee, Wash. to take on the Wild before heading north for a Saturday tilt against the Warriors in West Kelowna. They’ll travel home before playing a 12:30 p.m. game on Monday at South Surrey Arena against Chilliwack.