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Stenerson, Toews lead Eagles to OT wins
The Surrey Eagles and Prince George Spruce Kings just can’t seem to settle their difference in a timely fashion.
Twice on the weekend – and for the third time in three weeks – the Eagles and Kings played into overtime, with Surrey winning each time.
On Friday, Surrey got two goals from veteran forward Michael Stenerson, including the double-overtime winner, to beat the Kings 2-1 at the Prince George Coliseum, and in a return engagement Saturday, defeating their northern rivals again, this time 3-2, with blue-liner Devon Toews notching the OT winner.
The victories hurdled the Birds into second-place, two points up on the the formerly first-place Kings, who dropped to third in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division.
Surrey is 10-2-1 in the last 13 games, giving them a record of 15-7-0-2, which them just four points shy of the division-leading Chilliwack Chiefs.
“We’re in a pretty good stretch right now,” said Eagles head coach Matt Erhart. “We’ve been playing really well defensively, and I think that’s what has really been the key over these 13 or so games.
“The whole division is so tight, so you hate to give up the extra (overtime-loss) point to the other team, but the important thing is we get the two points ourselves. If you’d told me we would get four points this weekend, I’d have taken it.”
On Friday, Surrey – which now has seven overtime wins to their credit this season – and Prince George played to a scoreless draw in the opening 20 minutes, before Spruce Kings’ Tanner Fjellstrom opened the scoring for the home team midway through the second period.
Just three minutes later, with Prince George’s Mitch Eden in the penalty box for hooking, Stenerson tied the game with a power-play marker.
Neither team scored in the third, and though the Spruce Kings thought they had the game won in the first overtime frame – Tyson Witala beat Eagles’ netminder Michael Santaguida but the goal was waived off – the contest moved to three-on-three double OT, and Stenerson sent the visiting squad off with the win, converting a pass from Trevor Cameron at 3:57 of the period.
Santaguida stopped 35 of 36 Prince George shots on net, while Kings’ goalie Kirk Thompson – a Surrey native and former Valley West Hawk major-midget player – stopped 38 in a losing effort.
“Both teams had sequences where they controlled the play, but neither team really dominated for any long stretch. It was pretty tight – both games were like that,” Erhart said.
On Saturday, it was defenceman Toews who played the hero’s goal, scoring 2:13 into overtime when his shot from the blue line beat Thompson.
Brady Shaw and Drew Best, who also had an assist, also scored for Surrey, while Shayne Morrisey scored both Prince George goals.
For Toews, it was his second OT goal of the season. The first assist went to another defenceman, rookie Jordan Klimek, which did not go unnoticed by Erhart.
“I think that’s partly why we’re having so much success in overtime, because when it goes to four-on-four or three-on-three, guys like Toews and Klimek – and others, too – are good enough to act as the extra forward, but still get back on defence.”
The Eagles are back on the ice tonight (Tuesday) for a road game against their division rivals from Langley, and Friday host the Coquitlam Express at South Surrey Arena.
Friday’s game is the Eagles’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, where fans are encouraged to bring stuffed toys, to be tossed onto the ice after the home team’s first goal.
The bears are then collected and given to children at Christmas.