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Surrey Eagles nab three points on weekend
Win one, lose one. Win one, lose one.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Such is life these days for the Surrey Eagles, who have been consistently inconsistent through the first month of the BC Hockey League season.
As they have every weekend this season, the Eagles won once and lost once last weekend, defeating the Coquitlam Express 2-1 on the road Friday, before dropping a 3-2 double-overtime game to the Chilliwack Chiefs Sunday evening at South Surrey Arena.
The team now sits with a 4-3-0-1 record.
“We at least had the overtime game, so we got the extra point, and if you had told me before this weekend that’d we’d get a win in Coquitlam and come out with three of four points, I’d have taken it,” Surrey Eagles head coach Erhart said.
“We’re a fairly young group, and we’re learning on the fly. But hopefully one of these weekends we can come away with all four points.”
On Friday, new goaltender Michael Santaguida – who was acquired last week from the United States Hockey League, taking the spot of Edward Dyson, who was released – made his mark with his new club, stopping 30 shots en route to the road win.
“With (Santaguida) and Glenn Ferguson, we really feel like we’ve got a solid, quality duo in net,” Erhart said.
Eighteen-year-old forward Joel Gaudet – another newcomer to the Eagles’ nest and a former member of Semiahmoo Minor Hockey Association – opened the scoring for the visiting team when he carried the puck into the slot and slipped the puck past Coquitlam net minder Cole Huggins.
Later in the period, Surrey extended its lead to 2-0 when defenceman Tommy Stipancik – yet another new Eagle, who arrived last week from the Western Hockey League – fired a shot from the blue-line that, after a strange bounce, made its way across the goal line.
Neither team scored in the second frame, but Coquitlam cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the third period when Brady Shaw’s shot beat Santaguida.
Sunday, the Eagles saw their record fall back to .500 after the overtime loss to the division-rival Chiefs.
As was the case in Friday’s game, the Eagles – playing Chilliwack for the third time in a month – jumped out to an early lead after first-period goals from Brett Mulcahy and Devon Toews, but Chiefs’ forward Cooper Rush made it 2-1 with one second left before the first intermission, with a shorthanded goal.
Chilliwack’s Spencer Graboski – named the game’s first star – tied the game in the second period, and Ben Israel gave the Chiefs the lead six minutes later with a power-play marker.
In the third period, Surrey tied the game when leading scorer Demico Hannoun’s shot found the back of the net.
The game stayed knotted at two goals apiece until 1:46 into the second overtime frame, when Chilliwack’s Luke Esposito scored to give his team the win.
“It was a little frustrating because we were up 2-0 again, and had played one of our best periods of the season,” Erhart said.
The outcome was a reversal of fortune for Surrey, who earlier in the month had defeated the Chiefs in the exact same, double-OT fashion.
Santaguida was again between the pipes for the Birds, stopping 41 shots on net.
The Eagles, who at the beginning of the season were among the BCHL’s best squads on special teams, struggled on the weekend when the game was not five-on-five.
Though they stayed strong on the penalty kill – they’re ranked sixth in the league – Surrey was a combined 0-for-12 on the power-play, and gave up one shorthanded goal.
The Eagles are back on the ice twice this coming weekend – first on Friday, at home to the visiting Prince George Spruce Kings, and then Sunday afternoon against the Merritt Centennials, also at South Surrey Arena. Puck drops Sunday at 4 p.m.