Moral victories don’t count in the standings, but they can be important, nonetheless.
Such was the case recently for the Surrey Eagles, who lost their second game of the Chilliwack-hosted BC Hockey League Showcase Festival Thursday, 4-2 to the first-place Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Despite not picking up a point in the standings, Eagles head coach Cam Keith said his squad “probably played our best game of the year.”
Against the Capitals, only a late-game offensive surge from one of the league’s top forwards kept the Birds from sending the game to overtime. Tied 2-2 with just more than three minutes to play, Cowichan took the lead on a goal from Brady Lynn, who sits inside the top-10 in scoring in the BCHL.
Exactly three minutes later, Lynn deposited another goal into an empty net to seal the deal.
“It’s tough to lose those. You want to see the results when you play your best games. But we took some really positive strides… I think we found the compete level we need to be successful in this league,” Keith said in a post-game news release.
“We controlled the play for large stretches and I really liked how we were tenacious on the forecheck. We’re still not getting off enough shots which is something we need to address, but it was a huge game for us to see how we need to play, and as we showed today can play.
“I felt like we won the game. I know we didn’t get the result, and I know as a coach I need to demand that of our players, but tonight I felt like we won this game… We need to hold to this level, and then we will get results.”
Buddy Johnson's first career #BCHL goal was certainly one of the bright spots in the Eagles loss this afternoon to the Capitals.
Massive congratulations to @Buddyjohnson_ on the first of many! 🎉🎉🎉 pic.twitter.com/1ms76TetFl
— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) October 4, 2019
The BCHL Showcase Festival is an annual event which saw all Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island teams convene in Chilliwack for two days of game. The league’s Interior Division squads are doing the same in Penticton currently, which the second-half of the event wrapping up Saturday.
On Wednesday, Surrey opened its Showcase schedule with a 6-2 loss to the Nanaimo Clippers.
In that game, the Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, on goals from Jesse Carr and second-year forward Brandon Santa Juana, but the lead was short-lived, as Nanaimo captain Ethan Scardina – a Semiahmoo Minor Hockey alum – scored two quick goals in the final five minutes of the opening frame.
Nanaimo struck again for three goals in the second period – with Scardina adding a pair of assists – and tacked on one more in the third for goal measure.
Against Cowichan, Eagles’ goal-scorers were Buddy Johnson, with his first career BCHL marker, and Hudson Schandor.
Though the Showcase is over, Surrey is back at the Chilliwack Coliseum Saturday for a road game against the Chiefs. They’re back in action on home ice Oct. 11 against the Coquitlam Express.