Demico Hannoun picked a fine time for his first playoff hat trick.
The 17-year-old forward scored three times – including twice on the power play – and added an assist, and linemate Michael Stenerson scored once and added four helpers, as the Surrey Eagles clobbered the Truro Bearcats 7-0 in their first game of the RBC Cup Sunday afternoon in Summerside, P.E.I.
“He’s a shooter, he’s a skilled player. He found a nice spot there on the power play and had a two good one-timers,” said Surrey Eagles coach Matt Erhart, when asked about Hannoun’s performance.
The key early in the game was the success of the Surrey power play. The Bearcats took three penalties in the first 15 minutes, and the BC Hockey League champions made them pay each time, jumping out to a 3-0 lead.
The three-goal barrage chased Truro’s starting netminder Shayne Campbell to the bench, in favour of backup Jacob Fancy.
“We had a good start, got on the power play early, and got a couple key goals,” said Stenerson, who recently signed a scholarship agreement with the University of Vermont.
“I got lucky with a couple of those assist, but I’ll take it.”
As one might expect in a seven-goal blowout, Stenerson and Hannoun were not the only Birds with big games. Brady Shaw scored twice and added an assist, Craig Wyszmirski had a two-point game, and blue-liner Devon Toews – who was MVP of the Western Canada Cup – had two assists.
Stefan Burzan also had a goal to round out the scoring.
Michael Santaguida picked up his sixth shutout of the playoffs, stopping all 24 Truro shots he faced.
“We had lots of guys who played well tonight,” Erhart said.
And despite not playing for a week, and traveling the further of any of the five RBC teams, the Eagles showed neither rust nor signs of jet lag Sunday, in what was the second official day of the RBC tournament.
“We really stressed using our team speed, and we came out with good jump,” Erhart said. “We played a complete game, and we were dominant on the power play, especially in the first period… we competed for pucks, had good second and third efforts.”
The only negative in the win was that centre Adam Tambellini did not finish the game. The six-foot-four Edmonton native – acquired by the Eagles from the Vernon Vipers at the BCHL trade deadline last January – took a hard hit in the second period and left the game.
Erhart, however, expected him to be fine, and said his late-game absence had more to do with the score than the severity of Tambellini’s injury.
“I think he’s fine. It was precautionary, with the way the score was,” Erhart said.
“I suspect he’ll be fine and ready to go (Monday) night.”
Sunday’s win was the Eagles’ first in Summerside since losing the final of the 1997 RBC Cup to the Summerside Western Capitals. The Capitals, the tournament’s host club, were the Eagles’ second opponent of this year’s tournament Monday night. The game was played after Peace Arch News’ press deadline.
The Western Capitals were also 1-0 heading into the game, having opened the national junior ‘A’ hockey tournament Saturday with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wilderness, who were champions of the Superior International Junior Hockey League this year, but next year will move to the U.S.-based North American Hockey League.
On Wednesday, Surrey will face Minnesota – the first American team to ever play for the RBC Cup – in the Peninsula squad’s third game of the tournament. Puck drops at 3 p.m. Atlantic Time (11 a.m. Pacific).
The Eagles also play Thursday against Alberta’s Brooks Bandits.
For more on the Royal Bank Cup, click here.