The Surrey Eagles crept to within a single point of first place in the BC Hockey League’s Coastal Conference, after sweeping a two-game homestand on the weekend.
On Friday, the Eagles, led by two goals from defenceman Steve Koshey, beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 5-3, and followed up Saturday with a 5-4 win over the visiting Victoria Grizzlies.
Surrey now sits second in the conference with 14 points – and a record of 6-1-0-2 – which is one behind the Powell River Kings, who’ve played two more games.
“Getting two wins, going two-for-two, we’ll take that every time,” said Eagles coach Matt Erhart. “One of our goals this year was to get off to a good start, and with just one regulation loss in nine games… so far, we’re happy, but we’ve got a ways to go yet.”
On Friday, the Eagles didn’t get off to a great start against the Bulldogs – Alberni’s Justin Morello scored 17 seconds after opening puck drop – and they needed a strong third-period performance to earn the victory.
After Morello’s opening tally, Koshey – on the power play – knotted the game at 1-1, but the visitors scored twice in the second period to lead 3-2 after 40 minutes, though Koshey added a second power-play goal to keep it a one-goal margin.
In the third, however, the home side took over. Captain Tyler Morley scored at the 6:35 mark, and Brandon Morley gave the Eagles a 4-3 lead just four minutes later.
Tyler Morley, who leads the team with five goals on the season, added an insurance marker into the empty net with 18 seconds left.
Erhart was impressed with the play of his entire squad – “A real team effort,” he said – and especially Koshey, who finished the weekend with four points.
“Ever since we got Steve last year, he’s really solidified our defence for us. He’s big on the power play and killing penalties, and he’s off to a real good start,” Erhart said.
Andrew Hunt was between the pipes for the Eagles Friday, stopping 26 of 29 shots on net.
The Surrey native got the call Saturday against Victoria, too, and was again solid, with 29 saves.
Robert Lindores, who had an assist Friday, had a goal and assist Saturday night. South Surrey native Michael Stenerson – who has eight points in nine games this year – Charles Orzetti, Brandon Morley and Ben Grenier rounded out the scoring.
As has been the case for much of the season, the Eagles’ power play was in top form on the weekend, accounting for four of the Bird’s 10 goals.
They were three-for-six with the man advantage Friday, and one-for-10 Saturday.
For the season, the Eagles are sixth out of 16 teams, clicking at a 22.6 per cent success rate; they’ve also scored the third-most power-play goals in the BCHL, with 14.
They’re also second in the league on the penalty-kill, too, and are second only to Powell River with five shorthanded tallies.
“Special teams is becoming more and more important at all levels of hockey, I think,” Erhart said. “
And if you look at our numbers so far, that’s probably why were were able to get two wins this weekend.”
This weekend, the Eagles head north for a three-game tour of the Interior Division, with stops in Merritt, Salmon Arm and Penticton.