Surrey Eagles win streak stops at five

After victory Thursday, Surrey drops pair of games on road to Prince George and Merritt.

The Surrey Eagles ran their BC Hockey League win streak to five games Thursday, but saw it come to an end on a two-game road trip into the B.C. Interior.

Thursday at South Surrey Arena, the Birds – who, after a slow start, have vaulted into fourth place in the BCHL’s Mainland Division – defeated the visiting Salmon Arm Silverbacks 5-0, but couldn’t keep the momentum going on the road.

On Saturday in Prince George, Surrey lost 6-3 to the Spruce Kings, and followed that with a Sunday afternoon loss to the Merritt Centennials, also 6-3.

The Eagles now sit with a 10-14-2-0 record (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), and are just five points back of the Spruce Kings for third place in the division, and one point up on the Langley Rivermen.

In Thursday’s victory over the Silverbacks, the team’s offence – which has been the catalyst of the team’s recent win streak – took a back seat to goaltending, as Daniel Davidson picked up his second shutout of the season, stopping 31 shots on goal.

“It feels great, and the team was playing great in front of me… I had great support, guys were blocking shots,” Davidson told Eagles’ play-by-play broadcaster Kyle Balzer after the win.

Five different players notched goals for the Eagles in the win, including Jackson Ross, whose first-period goal to open the scoring was the first of his BCHL career.

Defenceman Cory Babichuk and forwards Logan Mostat, Darius Davidson and Desi Burgart each had a goal and an assist, and Mike Sauer – on his first road trip with the team after being acquired earlier this month – added two assists.

The five-game win streak was the longest for the Eagles since the 2013/14 season that saw the South Surrey club win a BCHL title and advance all the way to the RBC Cup national championship tournament.

The team outscored its opponents 28-10 during the streak, with Darius Davidson leading the charge with 10 points in that span.

Unfortunately for the surging junior-hockey squad, they were unable to carry the momentum with them on their weekend road trip.

On Saturday, in front of more than 1,000 fans at Prince George’s Rolling Mix Concrete Arena, the visitors were unable to leave with any points after giving up five goals over the final two periods.

Prince George led 1-0 after the first, and in the second period extended the lead to 3-0 before Eagles’ defenceman Nick Minerva scored his fifth goal of the year – on the power-play.

The two teams traded goals in the third period, with Eagles’ markers coming off the sticks of Ty Westgard – who recently returned to the club from the Western Hockey League – and Jeff Stewart.

Goaltender Michael Botiz was tagged with the loss, stopping 35 shots.

Less than 24 hours – and slightly more than 550 km – later, the Eagles dropped their second in a row to the Centennials who, like the Eagles, are hovering just under the .500 mark for the season.

Merritt jumped all over a tired Eagles team, scoring three times in the first period and three more times in the second frame.

Trailing 6-0, Surrey finally got on the board with 2:32 left in the second period when Ashton Calder potted his ninth goal of the year. Babichuk and Josh Bruce – like Westgard, another recent addition from the WHL – scored for the Eagles in the third.

The Eagles are on the road again tonight (Wednesday) for a game against the Coquitlan Express, but return to home ice Thursday night against the West Kelowna Warriors. The Eagles will wrap up their busy week Saturday night in Langley against the Rivermen.

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