Surrey â€” New Year; same Surrey Eagles.
The Eagles kicked off January by returning to their maddening habit of treading water in the standings by splitting a pair of weekend B.C. Hockey League games. The Eagles started fast and then hung on to beat the Cowichan Valley Capitals 6-4 Friday night before absorbing a 5-1 pounding at the hands of the first-place Rivermen in Langley the following evening.
Fridayâ€™s contest at South Surrey Arena was marred by a scary incident when Eagles forward Jonah Renouf was knocked unconscious in a collision with a Cowichan player. Renouf was taken to hospital by ambulance, but Eagles coach Peter Schaefer said subsequent testing was favourable.
The frightening drama weighed heavily on Renoufâ€™s teammates and Schaefer said it was still on their minds when they took to the ice in Langley Saturday.
â€œWeâ€™re too inconsistent from game to game, but I can understand it this weekend,â€ he said. â€œWe had an issue with Renouf against Cowichan and it was a very scary situation. The game was delayed and he was taken out on a stretcher. After seeing that, a lot of the guys were rattled by it and so were we as coaches. It was a difficult situation to go through and then be ready to play again in Langley the next night. Obviously our heads just werenâ€™t in that game.â€
Surrey got off to a fast start against the Capitals, scoring the first three goals of the contest and led 3-1 at the first intermission. Cowichan battled back to cut the gap to a single goal on three occasions, but each time Surrey answered to maintain a two-goal advantage.
Nicolas Pierog scored twice in what would be his last game in a Surrey uniform. Luke Sandler also scored a pair while captain Brett Mulcahy tallied once in what turned out to be his final spin on the ice of South Surrey Arena.
Pierog was traded to the Penticton Vees Saturday morning (see related story below) and his absence coupled with the aftereffects of Renoufâ€™s injury had a negative effect on the Birds when they arrived in Langley Saturday night.
The Rivermen had no such problems getting up for the match and, after a seesaw first period, took charge of the proceedings with two unanswered goals in the middle frame and one more in the third period.
Newcomer Anthony Conti scored the lone Surrey goal.
The Eagles hit the road this week for a pair of games in Prince George against the division rival Spruce Kings.