A Surrey Eagle dumps a Chilliwack Chief into the bench Friday.

Eagles down to final cuts

Two wins over Chilliwack Chiefs on weekend

With a few weeks left before the start of the regular season, Surrey Eagles’ head coach Matt Erhart is pleased with what he’s seen from his team so far this preseason – which makes the final few roster decisions even tougher.

“It’s been a longer camp than usual, but it’s really allowed us to get a better look at what we have here,” Erhart said.

“We don’t want to rush to any decisions, and we’ve got a few tough decisions left to make, but we’ve been very happy with the group here.”

After initial cuts in training camp, the Eagles had 27 players left on the roster heading into last weekend’s two pre-season games against the Chilliwack Chiefs – both of which were won by the Eagles – and are down to 25 players after sending a pair of young prospects back to their respective midget teams.

“By the middle of the week we’ll probably be down a couple more, and then by the end of the week, after our last (pre-season) game, we should be at our number, for sure,” Erhart said. “We just don’t want to make our decisions too quickly, because guys get injured and then you’re (short players), so we’ll take our time and make the right decisions.”

Surrey beat Chilliwack 4-2 on Friday at South Surrey Arena, and followed that with another 4-2 victory Saturday in Chilliwack. Prior to that, the Eagles had lost two exhibition tilts to Coquitlam in late August.

And though Erhart doesn’t put much stock in preseason win-loss records, it was still nice to win two on the weekend, he said.

“I think I (was) 0-6 as a head coach in preseason,” he laughed. “Nice to get off the schnied, here.”

Where the Eagles will look markedly different this season, regardless of Erhart’s final cuts, is on the blue line, as the team looks to replace departed veterans Mitch Jones and Riley Sweeney, both of whom are playing in the NCAA this year,  and steady stay-at-home defenceman Doug Wedel, who was dealt to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in August. Another vet, Josh Monk, was dealt to the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for forward Brandon Tanev.

Erhart is also in the market for a backup goaltender, but he’s been impressed so far with the play of returnee Andrew Hunt, who he expects will handle the bulk of the work in the crease this season.

“He’s had a great camp, and we’re really looking forward to seeing what he can do,” Erhart said. “Andrew’s gone through the process, of playing junior B, then coming in here as a backup last year. He’s 19 now, so this is his time to take that next step.”

Erhart said he’s also been impressed so far with the play of a handful of new players brought in during the off-season, including Charles Orzetti, Matt Cronin, Sean McGovern and Tanev.

“We’re happy with the group here. Everybody we’ve brought in has worked out very well so far.”

But if the Eagles are to duplicate, or improve upon, their success of last year – they advanced all the way to Coastal Conference finals – it will be the returning veterans, Erhart said, who will carry the load.

“It sounds cliche, but everybody coming back from last year is bigger and better,” he said.

“And those guys have a bitter taste in their mouths, after losing in the conference finals last year. I think they went into the summer focused, and they trained accordingly, and now they’re coming back and looking to go even further.”

The Eagles wrap up the pre-season schedule Friday, when they host the Langley Rivermen at South Surrey Arena. Puck drops at 7 p.m.

 

Just Posted

White Rock pier-plank purchasers celebrated

Donors received a certificate Sunday marking their purchase of a pier plank

White Rock looking at 3.9% tax increase

Budget discussions are to take place this week

PHOTOS: White Rock Festival of Lights celebrated with a cheer

Hundreds of people gathered in the city Saturday for a Christmas event

Plans for new Surrey hospital to be updated Monday

News conference announced by Premier Horgan and health minister Adrian Dix

Surrey 37 per cent behind in housing supply projections

Of 18 cities in Metro Vancouver, only City of North Vancouver and Richmond met or exceeded projections

VIDEO: SNL skewers Trudeau’s mockery of Trump in high school cafeteria sketch

The three world leaders won’t let Trump sit at the cool kids’ table

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Students call for spending as international enrolment produces huge surpluses at many universities

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

INFOGRAPHIC: How much money did your local university or college make last year?

B.C. university and colleges posted a combined $340 million surplus in 2018/19

B.C. creates $8.5M organization to improve safety for health care workers

Group will bring together unions, province, health care organizations

Four men in hospital after early morning Vancouver stabbing

A large group of men was seen fighting in Yaletwon

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

B.C. VIEWS: An engine that hums right along

First Nations are leading a new surge of investment in B.C.

Most Read

l -->