Head coach Peter Schaefer (centre) and the Surrey Eagles are still searching for their first win of the BCHL season, after losing 4-2 to Chilliwack Sunday. (Damon James photo)

Surrey Eagles still searching for first win

South Surrey BCHL squad drops 4-2 game to Chiefs Sunday

The Surrey Eagles are still looking for their first win of the BC Hockey League season, despite a two-goal effort from their newest sniper and 38 saves from their just-arrived goaltender.

On Sunday in Chilliwack, the Birds – who now sport an 0-4 win-loss record and are the only team in the BCHL without a win – lost 4-2 to the Chiefs. Eric Linell, who was acquired in the offseason from Coquitlam, scored twice, and Cayden Bailey, the team’s new netminder, stopped 38 shots, but it was not enough to hold off the hard-charging Chiefs, who scored four straight goals to overcome an early deficit and escape with the win.

Both Linell’s goals came in the first period – with the first coming just 1:27 into the game – before Chilliwack clawed back with two in the second, then tacked on two more in the third period to get the win.

The game was the first in an Eagles’ sweater for Bailey, a Florida native who was signed by the team last week, replacing Seth Eisele, who was released. Eisele was an offseason addition by Surrey, who acquired the veteran netminder from Wenatchee.

Bailey, 18, was previously a member of the P.A.L. Junior Islanders, a AAA hockey program affiliated with the NHL’s New York Islanders that is based in Syosset, N.Y.

“We felt it was important to change direction in net. We didn’t get off to the start we had hoped and wanted to shake things up early,” Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld told Peace Arch News Monday.

“We are here to win it all this year and there will be more fine-tuning to come. We understand it’s early but we see it as an opportunity to find the right pieces now so we can be playing into May.”

Sunday’s loss comes on the heels of another defeat last week – 7-6 on the road against the Merritt Centennials Sept. 11. In that game,

the Eagles took an early 1-0 lead on a goal from the squad’s newest defenceman, Riley Hayles – who was acquired last week – but the home team rallied to tie the game 1-1 before the first intermission.

Merritt scored four unanswered goals in the second, and led 6-2 in the third before the Eagles rallied late.

Surrey’s Aaron White scored three goals in the final frame, including two in the last seven minutes, but the visiting team couldn’t pot the equalizer before the final buzzer.

The Eagles are back in Chilliwack this weekend for the BCHL Showcase, which features every team from around the league.

At the league-wide event, Surrey will play Penticton and Vernon.

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