For the first time all season, the Surrey Eagles are losers of two consecutive games.
The Birds, who still sit in a second-place tie in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division, dropped both games of a Vancouver Island road trip on the weekend, losing 2-1 to the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night, before falling 5-2 to the Nanaimo Clippers less than 24 hours later on Sunday afternoon.
Saturday in Victoria, the Eagles were stung by Grizzlies’ Fitzgerald triplets – Leo, Myles and Gerry – who combined for five points in the victory.
Gerry Fitzgerald scored both goals from the home team, including the winning goal, which came on the power play – Surrey had been whistled for a too-many-men penalty – at the 8:31 mark of the third period.
Fitzgerald opened the scoring 3:22 into the first period, and the Victoria lead lasted until near the end of the second period, when Surrey forward Brady Shaw scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season when his slapshot from the right circle beat Victoria netminder Michael Stiliadis. Drew Best and Dan O’Keefe drew assists on the play.
Glenn Ferguson got the start in net for Surrey, stopping 35 of 37 shots on net.
The following afternoon, the Eagles – who had won four straight and nine of 11 heading into the weekend – lost a rare second in a row Sunday, as the hometown Clippers got goals from five different players en route to the win.
Demico Hannoun gave Surrey an early lead – his shot from the wing beat Nanaimo goalie Jayson Argue 38 seconds into the first period – but the Clips tied the game 10 minutes later on a goal from Michael Fretz.
Nanaimo scored twice more in the second period, while Surrey managed to bulge the twine just once more, when Trevor Cameron scored his sixth goal of the year early in the third.
With the score 3-2, Nanaimo put the game out of reach when Kyle Kramer and Michael McNicholas scored 34 seconds apart midway through the period.
Surrey was not without chances to come back, however.
The Peninsula squad had three breakaways in the final period, but Argue stopped all three.
“It was sloppier than we wanted it to be, that’s for sure,” said Mike Vandekamp, Clippers coach.
“But it was entertaining… We needed a win, and scoring some goals was nice.”
Their Island road swing behind them, the Eagles now settle in for a three-game home stand, with two games coming before the Christmas break.
On Friday, the Eagles host the Powell River Kings, and Sunday afternoon will face the Prince George Spruce Kings at South Surrey Arena.
– with files from Greg Sakaki