Surrey Eagles lose Game 5, fail to clinch series

Surrey Eagles forward Alex Hagen battles for the puck in front of Cowichan netminder Derek Dun Thursday in South Surrey. - Garrett James photo
Surrey Eagles forward Alex Hagen battles for the puck in front of Cowichan netminder Derek Dun Thursday in South Surrey.
— image credit: Garrett James photo

Two days after both teams exploded for a combined 12 goals, the Surrey Eagles lost a defence-first battle Thursday in South Surrey, falling 2-1 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Game 5 of their BCHL Coastal Conference semifinal.

The Eagles still lead the series 3-2, and will look to clinch the series tonight (Friday) in Duncan. If the Caps are able to win tonight, the series will shift back to South Surrey for Game 7 Saturday.

On Thursday night, Surrey got on the board first, when captain Tyler Morley made a few slick stickhandling moves inside the Cowichan zone, beating a pair of defenders before slipping the puck past Caps' goaltender Derek Dun, who made 36 saves in the contest.

The slim 1-0 lead held up until the 15-minute mark of the middle period, when Cowichan's Steven Iacobellis jammed the puck past Eagles' goalie Andrew Hunt after a goal-mouth scramble.

The visitors took the lead midway through the third period, when, after some prolonged pressure in the Surrey end of the rink, Caps' Matt Brown was left alone at the side of the net, and was able to fire a loose puck past a sprawling Hunt.

Despite peppering Dun with 37 shots on the net, the home team, playing in front of an announced crowd of 1,021, had but a handful of grade-A scoring chances over the final 40 minutes. With just four minutes left in the game, however, Eagles' blue-liner Steve Koshey nearly tied the game when his weak wrist shot from the blue-line evaded a handful of bodies in front of the net and clanged off the post.

Late in the game, Cowichan had chances to extend the lead, too, with the best opportunity coming in the final 10 minutes of the third period, when, during a mad scramble in front of the Eagles' net, the puck slipped past Hunt and sat on the goal line, but never crossed, and was eventually cleared away.

Hunt earned first-star honours in a losing cause, stopping 47 Cowichan shots, including 18 in the third period.

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