The Surrey Eagles were flying high at South Surrey Arena on the weekend, winning both games of a weekend homestand.
On Friday, in front of an announced crowd of more than 850 fans, the Birds edged the Prince George Spruce Kings – one of the BC Hockey League’s top teams so far this season – by a 4-3 score, and on Sunday evening, they completed the weekend sweep with a 5-2 win over the visiting Victoria Grizzlies, who currently sit in second place in the league’s Island Division.
The two wins allowed the Eagles to close the gap ever-so-slightly on their division rivals. With a record of 5-7-1-1 (win-loss-tie-overtime loss), they remain tied with the Chilliwack Chiefs for third place in the five-team Mainland Division, and they’re just four points shy of the Langley Rivermen, and five back of the first-place Spruce Kings. Both the Chiefs and Rivermen won just once on the weekend.
— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) October 16, 2017
On Friday against Prince George, Surrey opened the scoring midway through the first period when Dominic Dumas scored his first career BCHL marker on a wrap-around after the puck had been brought deep into the Kings’ zone. Caige Sterzer picked up the assist, giving the six-foot-four winger – who, like his linemate, is also a rookie – two points in nine games.
— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) October 14, 2017
The Eagles’ one-goal lead lasted only 10 minutes – the Kings tied the game with 13 seconds left in the period on a goal from Ben Poisson, but the home team rebounded nicely in the second, scoring twice to restore the lead they would never relinquish. Cody Shiavon and Connor Sundquist – both with their first goals of the year – were the Eagles’ goal-scorers, while Ty Westgard made it 4-1 midway through the third period, with his third of the year. Desi Burgart and Johnny Wesley picked up assists.
The first-place Kings stormed back quickly following Westgard’s tally, however; Chong Min Lee made it 4-2 less than a minute after Surrey’s third goal, and Kyle Johnson bridged the gap to 4-3 with 2:59 to play.
The Kings pulled the goalie in the game’s waning moments, but were unable to get the equalizer past Surrey goalie Daniel Davidson, who finished the game with 30 saves.
Much like Friday’s win, in which the offence was spread around, Sunday’s affair also saw five different goal-scorers light the lamp.
Last week, West told PAN that he wanted his club to become a “four-line team” and not rely so heavily on the Westgard-Wesley-Burgart line for offence.
And while that top line struck again for two goals Sunday – Westgard and Wesley both scored third-period goals to add some breathing room with the team up 3-2 – the bulk of the offence, at least early in the contest, was provided by other lines.
The Grizzlies went up 1-0 early in the game after Jamie Rome scored just 1:11 into the first period, but Eagles’ Ryan Brushett scored his second goal of the year – on a tip-in from in front of the net – to tie the game near the end of the period, to sent things into the first intermission tied 1-1.
The Island visitors restored the lead 10:10 into the second period when Jacson Alexander scored – Davidson, in net again for Surrey, was screened on the play – but two Surrey goals in the final six minutes of the period, from Chase Danol and Aaron White, gave the home team the lead after 40 minutes.
Wesley and Westgard – the latter of whom scored into an empty net in the game’s final minute – tacked on their goals in the final eight minutes of the game.
The Eagles have the chance to even their record at .500 this weekend with two more victories, but the task will have to be completed on the road, as the Semiahmoo Peninsula squad heads south to Wenatchee Friday night to take on the Wild, and on Saturday will make the six-hour trip from central Washington to Vernon for a Saturday night game against the Vipers, who are currently the No. 1 team in the BCHL with nine wins in 14 games so far this season.