Surrey Eagles top first-place Wild

Thursday’s victory followed by winless trip to Prince George for BCHL club.

A two-game road trip to Prince George failed to yield a point, but the Surrey Eagles still managed a win last week – against one of the country’s top teams, no less.

On Thursday at South Surrey Arena, before the team embarked for the trip north, the Eagles earned a 6-1 win over the first-place Wenatchee Wild, who had been undefeated in the BC Hockey League until that point, and who were fourth overall in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s rankings earlier this month.

The Eagles – who have a 4-9-2-0 record (win-loss-overtime loss-tie) after last week’s action – were led Thursday by defenceman Cory Babichuk, who scored his first goal of the season and added two assists in the win.

“(Ashton) Calder just threw it out in front and I had some guys wide open, but I felt confident in my shot and I went for it,” Babichuk said, explaining his goal.

The Eagles scored three first-period goals on their first nine shots of the game, which was enough to chase Wenatchee starting goaltender Anthony Yamnitsky to the bench in favour of backup keeper Morgan Kelly.

Fellow defenceman Nick Minerva continued at his point-per-game pace, adding two assists in the win – he’s now third in league scoring among blue-liners with 15 points in 15 games.

In net, Michael Botiz stopped 33 of 34 Wenatchee shots, with the only goal-against coming in the first period, off the stick of Wild’s Lucas Sowder.

Surrey’s victory came just four days after losing a heartbreaking 6-5 game in overtime to the same Wenatchee squad.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they weren’t able to carry momentum from Thursday’s win into the weekend, and lost both ends of a doubleheader against the Spruce Kings by a combined score of 15-4. On Saturday, the home side won 11-2, and followed that Sunday with a 4-2 victory.

In Saturday’s loss, Surrey trailed just 2-1 after the first period, with a Jacob Dupont marker sandwiched between a pair of Prince George tallies. But the second and third periods were dominated by the Spruce Kings, who scored eight unanswered goals – four in the second, and four more in the first-half of the third period – before the Eagles were able to score another, when Jeff Stewart finally ended the home team’s run.

Sunday’s tilt was a much calmer affair – with far fewer offensive fireworks – though the Eagles were forced to play catch-up after giving up a goal 31 seconds into the game, and another midway through the first period.

Desi Burgart and Dupont scored for Surrey in the loss.

The Eagles are back on the road this week, with a game tonight (Oct. 26) in Penticton, and another Saturday in Langley, against the Rivermen.

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