Though they failed to earn any points on a weekend homestand at South Surrey Arena, Surrey Eagles’ coach saw brief glimpses of what his team could become, should they find consistency.
Unfortunately, such glimpses did not result in any wins for the young BC Hockey League club, as the team dropped a 5-4 game to Powell River Kings Friday, and followed up Sunday with a 7-2 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies.
The losses came on the heels of a modest, two-game undefeated streak at home the weekend prior.
“We just couldn’t keep the mojo going,” said Eagles coach Blaine Neufeld.
“I thought we played hard on Friday, but I wasn’t particularly thrilled with our effort on Sunday. We’re slowly learning to be a consistent team – you see it in snippets – but we’re a young team and we’re not there yet.”
Friday’s game was as close as the one-goal margin of victory would indicate, with the visiting Kings staking themselves to a 1-0 lead after the opening period, on a goal from Austin Kamer. Powell River’s Adam Brubacher made it 2-0 just 18 seconds into the second frame before Jeffrey Stewart got the home team on the board seven minutes later.
The teams traded goals before the second intermission, with Kurt Black notching the Eagles’ marker, and each team scored twice more in the third. Brett Stewart scored for Surrey, and with the team down 5-3, Tyler Cooper scored his second goal of the season – on the power play – to bring the Birds to within one goal, but they failed to get the equalizer before time expired.
Justin Laforest was tagged with the loss for Surrey, making 25 saves.
Where Friday’s contest was close, Sunday’s went sideways from the start for the South Surrey squad.
The two teams hadn’t met since an Eagles’ double-overtime win on Vancouver Island in mid-October.
On Sunday, Victoria jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the first period, then tacked on two more goals by the 6:54 mark of the second, which chased starting netminder Daniel Davidson from the game.
Brett Stewart finally got the home team on the scoreboard in the first minute of the third period, firing home a slap shot for his eighth goal of the season, and Gage Mackie scored the home team’s other goal.
Though Neufeld was willing to cut his squad a little bit of slack on the consistency front due to their age – the Eagles’ are among the BCHL’s youngest teams – he reiterated that he wants to see better efforts moving forward.
“The frustration for our coaching staff is that we see them play like they did on Friday, and then we follow it up with (Sunday’s game),” he said.
“Our guys need to learn that there’s really only one thing they can control every game, and that’s their work ethic. That’s what it comes down to – work ethic and execution.”
The Eagles will hit the road this weekend for three games on Vancouver Island, beginning Friday night in Nanaimo against the Clippers. On Saturday, they’ll play the Alberni Valley Bulldogs before wrapping up the trip Sunday afternoon against Powell River.