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Surrey Knights fall in ‘Survivor Series’ playoff but feel good about next season

A tale of two games against Chilliwack Jets, with a double-OT heartbreaker followed by 9-0 shutout
DJ Cash in net for Surrey Knights, eliminated from the 2023 PJHL playoffs following a pair of losses to Chilliwack Jets. (File photo: Tom Zillich)

A pair of playoff games didn’t go their way, but Surrey Knights head coach Andy Liboiron says the “Survivor Series” loss to Chilliwack Jets will prove valuable next season.

The Knights were eliminated from the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs Saturday night (Feb. 18) after a 9-0 loss to the Jets at Sardis Sports Complex.

The Game 2 shutout followed a close 4-3 double-overtime loss Thursday (Feb. 16) in North Surrey, in the Knights’ first playoff game in the PJHL since the franchise moved to the city from Langley seven seasons ago.

“For development it’s important to play meaningful games,” Liboiron emphasized, “and these two games were easily the most beneficial for our guys going into next year, because now they know what it’s all about.”

In Game 1 of the best-of-three series, the Knights got goals from Noah Iacutone, Bronson Sales and Noah Melanson. With the score tied after regulation, Surrey killed two minor penalties in the first overtime period, but a tripping call early in the second OT proved costly when the Jets’ Bronson Babyak scored on the powerplay.

“That was a heartbreaker of a game, for sure,” Liboiron said. “The guys were very excited – I haven’t seen our group like that all year, and it was a ton of fun. Just unfortunate how it ended. It was a great game.”

In Chilliwack two nights later, the Knights had a solid first period before the wheels fell off in the second frame.

“We were happy coming out of the first period down one, because we out-chanced them. But then a couple quick goals by the Jets, that hurt us. A penalty put us down for five minutes and it snowballed from there, and we showed our youth a little bit. We let the moment get to us, but we rallied and had a good third period and the puck just found our net that night.”

• RELATED: In ‘Survivor’ PJHL playoff, Surrey Knights aim to down Chilliwack Jets to reach new goal.

To start the current PJHL season, Knights’ goals included making the playoffs with a team of mostly rookies and some raw talent. That mission was accomplished, and Liboiron says new goals are now firm for next season.

“We want to finish higher in the standings, top three in our division, so we avoid the Survivor series, the wildcard series,” he said.

“We had high expectations coming into the playoffs, but this season has been a success for us because our goal was to make the playoffs,” he noted. “Our guys should be very proud, because they did what a lot of people thought wasn’t possible, so kudos to the guys for how hard they worked.”

Up next for the Knights is a developmental spring league and a prospect camp in June (visit for info).

“We’re already into recruiting for next year, and with the spring league we’re looking for a couple of players to fill out the roster. The spring league has been a part of our success this season, developing players and recruiting some.”

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Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news for Surrey Now-Leader and Black Press Media
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