Jonah Renouf is only six games into his BC Hockey League career, but already, the 19-year-old Ontario native is proving to have a flair for the dramatic.
Sunday in Cowichan Valley, the Surrey Eagles forward scored his second overtime goal in eight days, potting the winning marker in a 3-2 win over the Capitals. The weekend before, Renouf – whose twin brother, Nathan, is also on the Birds’ roster, but has yet to play due to injury – scored the winner in double-overtime against Langley.
“Anytime you’ve got a set of twins, and one of them is hurt, it’s tough because they’re so used to playing together, but Jonah’s doing a pretty good job solo right now,” said Eagles coach/general manager Peter Schaefer, adding that Nathan, who is out with a wrist injury, is expected back in the next few weeks.
Renouf’s goal completed a two-game road sweep for the Eagles, who one day earlier picked up two points in Port Alberni, after defeating the Bulldogs 7-5.
Through the first few weekends of the season, the Eagles – defending BCHL champions – sit first in the Mainland Division with a record of four wins and two losses, one point up on the Coquitlam Express and Langley Rivermen.
Against the Cowichan Valley Capitals Sunday evening, Surrey jumped out to a 1-0 lead late in the first period when second-year BCHLer Braeden Russell – who played 25 games last year in Vernon – beat Robin Gusse for his third goal of the young season.
The lead lasted until 14:49 of the second, when Cowichan’s Myles Powell tied the game, his shot beating Surrey netminder Bo Didur, who was playing just his second game of the season.
The two squads traded goals in the third period – Powell gave the home side a 2-1 lead with a power-play goal, and Renouf tied the game eight minutes later with an unassisted goal.
In overtime, Renouf scored his second of the game – and team-best fourth of the season – at the 4:11 mark, also unassisted.
In the Eagles’ first game of their Island road trip Saturday, the offense was led by a balanced attack – six different Eagles scored against Alberni.
Matthew Dawson led the way with a pair of goals, while Michael Roberts, Brett Mulcahy, Nic Pierog, Mitchell Fyffe and new defenceman Phillipe Johansson – acquired last week after being a late cut of the USHL’s Tri-City Storm – also scored.
Victor Adamo stopped 37 shots for Surrey, to nab his third win of the season.
Special teams – which Schaefer said earlier in the month were inconsistent but improving – continued to both help and harm the Birds.
On the plus side, the team was an impressive 4-for-7 with the man-advantage Saturday against Alberni Valley; but on the other side of the ledger, gave up three power-play goals in the same game.
“That game was a bit of a shootout – not a lot of defence – so you just hope to score enough to get the two points,” Schaefer said.
“But on our power play and penalty kill, we’re getting better. It’s early in the season still, so guys are still trying to get used to (the system), but I’m happy with how things are going.”
Sunday against the Capitals, the Eagles were much better killing penalties – Cowichan was just 1-for-8 – but still gave the Island squad five more power-play advantages than Caps gave them.
Surrey also continues to give up plenty of shots on net – Adamo leads the BCHL in shots-against with 174, despite playing less games than the three other netminders who trail him in that category.
This Friday, the Eagles return to the nest at South Surrey Arena for a game against the Vernon Vipers – led by former Eagle Mason Blacklock, and on Saturday, the two teams will travel up the Coquihalla for a return engagement at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place.
Before Friday’s contest, the Eagles will raise their championship banners from last season’s run to the RBC Cup.
Heading up into the rafters will be banners honouring the team’s Coastal Conference and BCHL championships, as well as one for the team’s Western Canadian Cup title.