Surrey Eagles still fourth after road-trip split
After splitting a pair of road games on the weekend, the Surrey Eagles are still searching to secure the last playoff spot in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division.
On Friday, the Eagles travelled to Trail, where they shut out the Smoke Eaters 3-0, but Saturday in Salmon Arm they saw their road-trip record fall to .500, after a valiant comeback fell just short in a 5-4 loss to the Silverbacks.
After the 1-1 trip, the Eagles (19-26-1-1) sit where they have nearly the entire season – in fourth place in the Mainland Division, 11 points back of the Coquitlam Express, who were the latest team to clinch a post-season berth. The first-place Langley Rivermen and second-place Prince George Spruce Kings punched their ticket to the playoffs earlier this season.
Though they haven’t officially clinched, it’s still likely the Bird will be post-season bound – they remain 14 points up on the last-place Chilliwack Chiefs, with 11 games to go in the regular season.
Against Trail, Surrey scored two power-play markers, the first of which came off the stick of Brian Drapluk; the goal was the blue-liners’ first of the season.
In the second period, the Eagles doubled the lead when Chase McMurphy finished off a passing play with the Smokies down a man, and Nathan Renouf – who scored the overtime winner in the Eagles’ last game before the road trip – added a third goal in the final frame.
Devon Fordyce was between the pipes for the Eagles, stopping 31 shots on net to pick up his first shutout of the year. The Alberta native was especially strong early in the game, when Trail peppered him with 14 shots on goal.
Fordyce got the start Saturday in Salmon Arm, as well, but neither he nor the team fared quite so well.
The Silverbacks, who are fourth in the BCHL’s Interior Division with a 23-17-1-5 mark, jumped all over the visitors early, taking a 2-0 lead by the first intermission on goals from Jeff Kennedy and former Eagles forward Michael Roberts.
Just 2:13 into the second period, the ‘Backs made it 3-0 on a goal by Thomas Piese, but the three-goal cushion did not last long. Just 1:01 after Piese’s goal, Renouf scored his third goal is as many games, with his brother Jonah Renouf and Austin Ferguson picking up assists.
Eight minutes later, Anthony Conti made it 3-2, and Jonah Renouf – who, like his brother, finished the game with a goal and two assists – tied the game before the second period was over.
In the third, however, Salmon Arm restored the lead on an unassisted goal from Taylor Maruya. The one-goal lead last about nine minutes, until Surrey’s Braeden Russell potted his 11th goal of the season. Maruya scored his second of the game just 16 second later, however, to give the home team the lead, which they held onto until the final buzzer.
The Eagles are back on home ice this week, beginning tomorrow (Wednesday) when they host the Coquitlam Express at 7 p.m. On Friday, Chilliwack comes to South Surrey Arena for a 7 p.m. tilt, and Saturday, the two division rivals head to Chilliwack for a rematch.