Eagles fall to Wild, beat Vernon Vipers in comeback

Ryan Brushett scores hat trick against former team Saturday

It’s said that revenge is a dish best served cold, but try telling that to Surrey Eagles’ forward Ryan Brushett who, in just his second game against the Vernon Vipers – his former team, which dealt him to Surrey at the start of the season – scored a hat trick to lead his new squad to a come-from-behind 5-4 win Saturday night.

Brushett’s first goal of the game came midway through the second period with the visiting Eagles down 2-0, but after the teams traded goals throughout the rest of the frame and into the third, the Verdun, Que. native scored at the 12:15 mark of the final period to tie the game 4-4, and then lit the lamp late again, late in the period, to give his team the win in front of more than 1,900 fans at Vernon’s Kal-Tire Centre.

The 19-year-old registered the winner with 78 seconds remaining in the third by going hard to the net and converting a corner pass from linemate Chase Danol.

“I was feeling pretty good about tonight; I wasn’t nervous,” Brushett said after the game.

“Some of the boys were chirping me, especially Jags (Viper captain Jagger Williamson) but I gave it right back to them. That’s my first hatty in junior ‘A’ hockey. I’ve been struggling; getting lots of chances but not scoring.”

Vernon opened the scoring when rookie Adam Panacci scored on a forehand-backhand deke on Eagles’ goaltender Nic Tallarico – who was making his Eagles debut after being acquired just last week – and Vipers’ defenceman Michael Ufberg made it 2-0 on a shot from the point with less than a minute left in the first period.

The Eagles showed signs of a pulse early in the second period with Aaron White getting stopped by Vernon goalie Ty Taylor in the slot and Ty Westgard just failing to deflect a shot over the goal line, before Brushett finally got the team on the board, tipping a shot by Domenic Masellis.

Before the second intermission, Surrey had added goals from Jackson Ross and captain Jordan Robert, with the latter goal coming just nine seconds into an Eagles’ power play.

The win boosted the Eagles’ record to 6-8-1-1 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), which puts them fourth in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division, just two points shy of the third-place Chilliwack Chiefs, but six points clear of the Coquitlam Express, who sit in the basement of the division.

On Friday, Surrey lost on the road in Wenatchee, 8-4 to the high-powered Wild, who sit fifth in the Interior Division but are tied for the league-lead in offence, with 60 goals scored.

The two teams – former division rivals until this season, when the Washington squad was shifted to the Interior Division – traded goals in the first period. Danol opened the scoring for the Eagles just 1:45 into the contest, and after Wenatchee’s August Von Ungern tied the game less than two minutes later, Surrey’s Desi Burgart gave the game the lead again. Wild’s Cooper Zech made it 2-2 before the first intermission.

In the second, Robert scored for the visitors, but the Wild scored a pair themselves, and continued the offensive explosion in the third, scoring three more times to Surrey’s one, which came from Burgart 13:20 into the period.

“We were in a track meet (in Wenatchee),” said Surrey head coach Brandon West.

“It was a back-and-forth game and they lasted longer than us. We challenged a lot of guys to be better tonight and they showed some character and responded against a very good team.”

Having now returned from the two-game road trip, the Eagles – who have won three of their last four games, while averaging 4.5 goals – are back on home ice Friday, when the Salmon Arm Silverbacks come to South Surrey Arena.

On Saturday, Surrey travels across the Fraser River for a road tilt with the Coquitlam Express, and will wrap up the busy weekend schedule Sunday, with a 4 p.m. home game against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

– with files from the

Vernon Morning Star

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