The Surrey Eagles didn’t exactly get the result they were looking for in their first game back on the ice after the BC Hockey League’s holiday break, but they escaped with a point nonetheless – and by the end of this week, they could already top their win total from last season.
Last Friday (Dec. 29), the Eagles picked up a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to their Mainland Division rival Chilliwack Chiefs, and now sport a record of 18-13-4-2 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), and are in third place in the division, four points back of the Prince George Spruce Kings.
The team won just 18 games during the entire 2016/17 season.
While the normally explosive Eagles’ offence – which sits comfortably in the BCHL’s top-10 in goals scored – was somewhat quite in the team’s return to action, goaltender Daniel Davidson was performance kept the team in the game – the Chiefs fired 41 shots on goal, compared to 27 for Surrey.
And no save was more spectacular than Davidson’s second-period stop on Chilliwack’s Ryan Miotto, which saw the veteran goalkeeper reach behind his back with his left hand to swat away the puck, which had snuck behind him initially.
Perhaps owing to the long Christmas layoff, neither team’s offence was particulary sharp in the game’s early stages, and the game remained scoreless after the opening 20 minutes. Chiefs’ forward Corey Andonovski finally broke the scoreless deadlock 3:42 into the second period, and the Eagles were unable to get the equalizer until midway through the third period when Owen Norton scored his third of the season.
Surrey’s attempt to take a lead were stymied in part by penalty trouble in the latter half of the game. Near the end of the second period, forward Ty Westgard – who leads Surrey in scoring with 49 points – was ejected from the game after a check-from-behind, and in the third period, the Eagles had to kill off a five-minute major to Matthew Campese, who was also tossed from the game after a match penalty.
In overtime, Chilliwack won the game on a goal from P.J. Marrocco.
Surrey plays its first game of the new year Thursday against the Langley Rivermen. The Birds’ road trip continues Saturday, again against the Chiefs, before the Semiahmoo Peninsula squad returns to South Surrey Arena Sunday for a 4 p.m. game against the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters.