Win, overtime loss keeps Surrey Eagles in playoff picture

BCHL team will likely need to win last four games to secure final playoff spot.

The Surrey Eagles picked up three of a possible six points on last week, gaining ground – however slight – in their chase for a playoff spot as the BC Hockey League’s regular season winds down.

The weekly schedule didn’t start out well for the Birds, however, as the team coughed up a 4-1 third-period lead to the division rival Langley Rivermen and lost 5-4 in double-overtime, though the point they picked up courtesy of the OT loss could come in handy by season’s end, as they continue to chase the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for a crossover playoff berth in the BCHL’s Interior Division.

On Saturday – in a rare Saturday-night home tilt at South Surrey Arena – Surrey fell 6-2 to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, but the home team avenged the loss Sunday afternoon, picking up two points in a 6-4 win.

The Eagles record now stands at 17-33-4-0 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie) which is good for 38 points – six points back of the Silverbacks for the final playoff spot. Heading into last week’s slate of games, the Eagles were seven back of Salmon Arm.

Salmon Arm was set to play a pair of games at home last weekend against Vancouver Island opponents, but the games were rescheduled until the middle of this week as weather issues halted the Island club’s travel plans.

In Sunday’s win over the Spruce Kings, the Birds were led by forwards Ashton Calder and Jeff Stewart, each of whom had a pair of goals, while Ty Westgard had a goal and  two assists. Darius Davidson, the team’s leading scorer, rounded out the scoring.

Surrey led by one goal after both the first and second periods, but Prince George tied the game 36 seconds into the third when Ben Brar beat Keelan Williams, but Stewart and Calder each potted their second goals of the game in the latter half of the period to give the home team the victory.

“I tried to feed (the puck) to Ty, but their d-man intercepted it. I picked it up and… went top-shelf,” Stewart said of his game-winning marker.

Williams was especially sharp between the pipes, stopping 37 shots.

In Saturday’s loss, Davidson and Paul McAvoy were the goal-scorers for the Eagles, and Williams stopped 43 of 48 shots sent his way.

With just four games left on the schedule – compared to six for Salmon Arm – it’s likely that the Eagles will have to win all four in order to sneak into the playoffs, though three wins and an overtime loss would also do the trick, if the Silverbacks go winless down the stretch.

The Eagles will host the Chilliwack Chiefs at South Surrey Arena Thursday (puck drops at 6:30 p.m.) and then the two teams head to Chilliwack for a rematch Saturday night.

Surrey wraps up the regular season with back-to-back midweek games next week – on Wednesday night against the Merritt Centennials, and then Thursday, Feb. 23 against the Penticton Vees.

And despite the long odds of making the playoffs, Stewart said morale in the dressing room is still high, as is the belief they can pull it off.

“We have nothing to lose so we’re just going all-out every game,” he said.

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