A bad start and a poor finish – with one strong period in between – was enough to doom the Surrey Eagles Sunday in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Nanaimo Clippers.
The Clippers, who sit just one point back of the Eagles for second place in the BC Hockey League’s Coastal Conference, pounced on the Eagles early with three first-period goals – with the first coming off the stick of Brett Hartskamp just 1:21 into the game – to take a 3-0 lead at the first intermission.
The Eagles regrouped, however, and scored twice in the second frame – with both goals coming on the power play from captain Tyler Morley.
The third period, however, was dominated again by Nanaimo, as the Clips outscored the home team 3-1 over the final 20 minutes. Andrew Gladiuk had a pair, including one into an empty net with 1:27 left on the clock, to give him the hat trick – he also scored a power-play goal in the first period – and Colton Cyr had Nanaimo’s other goal.
Forward Charles Orzetti, with assists from Matt Esposito and Brandon Tanev, had the Eagles’ lone goal in the period.
Andrew Hunt started in goal for Surrey, but was pulled in favour of backup Conor Barrie for the final two periods.
The loss to Nanaimo came just two days after an overtime victory in Coquitlam Friday – Surrey edged the Express by a 4-3 score.
Morley again led the Eagles, potting a hat trick. His third goal was also the game-winner, coming on a power-play with 32 seconds left in OT.
Despite opening the scoring on a goal from rookie blue-liner Devon Toews, the Eagles trailed 2-1 after 20 minutes. Morley tied the game 43 seconds into the second period, and each team scored once in the third to keep the game tied after regulation time expired.
Hunt went the distance for Surrey, stopping 30 shots.
Surrey plays tomorrow (Wednesday) in Chilliwack against the Chiefs, before settling in for six straight home games at South Surrey Arena, starting Friday against Victoria and Saturday against Coquitlam.