A late-game surge by the Coquitlam Express Sunday afternoon at South Surrey Arena nearly resulted in a winless week for the Surrey Eagles, but the home team was able to hold off, salvaging two points in an otherwise forgettable few days.
Surrey won Saturday, 5-4, but lost to the Express one day earlier, 5-2, and Wednesday night at the Langley Events Centre, got spanked 6-1 by the Langley Rivermen, who trail the Eagles by 10 points in the BCHL’s Coastal Conference.
“We played well for stretches this week, but it just seemed like every time we turned the puck over, it ended up in the back of our net,” Eagles head coach Matt Erhart said.
“It’s nice to finish with a win, but it would’ve been nice to win two of three.
“Defensively, we wanted to be a lot better.”
On Sunday, the Eagles built a healthy 4-1 lead by the end of the second period, on a pair of goals from Robert Lindores and one each from Brandon and Tyler Morley, and rookie Sean McGovern even stretched the lead to 5-1 with a power-play goal 4:16 into the third period. Two goals from Coquitlam less than two minutes apart – from Alex Petan and Mitch Nardi – made it close, and former Vancouver Giant Zach Hodder scored with 26 seconds left to make it 5-4.
“They got a couple goals against the run of the play there, and then after that, we just kind of hung on,” said Erhart.
“Coquitlam is a vastly improved team since the start of the year – they’ve made a lot of (roster) moves, and I think they’re actually one of the best offensive teams in the whole league.”
A day earlier, the Eagles fell to Coquitlam 5-2 – Brandon Tanev and Colton Mackie scored for Surrey – which made Sunday’s win even more important, Erhart explained.
“We play them four times in a row – twice more this week coming out – so it was good we were able to get the split,” he said.
“You don’t want to go into the week having lost to them twice. Especially in our division, where the points are so close, you can’t afford to lose too many (in a row),” Erhart said.
The Eagles now sit in a tie with the Nanaimo Clippers for third-place in the BCHL’s Coastal Conference, six points back of first-place Cowichan and two back of the Powell River Kings.
Surrey plays another home-and-home series with the Express, beginning Friday in Coquitlam. The second contest is slated for South Surrey Saturday night at 7 p.m.
In an effort to improve their overall depth at forward, the Eagles acquired 19-year-old Alex Hagan from the Vernon Vipers last week, in exchange for future considerations.
Hagan, who had just one practice with the Birds before playing three games with his new team last week, had 10 points in 23 games this season. He had an assist Saturday against the Express.
“He’s a right-hand shot, which I think we needed, and he adds to our forward group,” Erhart said.
Hagan, who is committed to St. Lawrence University for 2012/13, is a New York native who played his minor hockey with current Eagles’ forward Charles Orzetti.