Last week wasn’t one to remember for the Surrey Eagles, as the BC Hockey League squad dropped three straight games – including two against divisional rivals.
On Thursday, the visiting Wenatchee Wild peppered the Eagles with 56 shots on net en route to a 6-3 win, and the Eagles followed that up a day later, losing 5-2 to the Coquitlam Express – the only team beneath them in the Mainland Division standings.
Surrey wrapped up its week on home ice Sunday evening, losing to the Victoria Grizzlies 7-1.
With the three losses, the Eagles stay in fifth place in the division with a record of 14-24-2-1 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), and are now 11 points shy of the fourth-place Langley Rivermen, who currently hold the final playoff spot in the division. The Eagles were nine points back of their Langley rivals heading into last week’s schedule.
But while the distance between the Eagles and Rivermen is growing, the Birds remain in contention for a crossover spot in the Interior Division, just five points back of Salmon Arm.
All six teams from the Interior Division can make the playoffs, unless the fifth-place team in the Mainland – currently the Eagles – have more points, in which case they’d advance to the post-season and play Interior competition.
Thursday’s game against first-place Wenatchee – a team that, this season, the Eagles have matched up well against – didn’t start well for the home team, as A.J. Vanderbeck, the Wild’s third-leading point-getter who is also second in the BCHL with 28 goals, scored twice in the first period to stake the visitors to a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles answered back after the intermission, however, as Mike Sauer scored a pair to tie the game.
The tie lasted less than four minutes, however, as Sam Morton put Wenatchee back up 3-2 before the end of the frame.
In the third, it was Vanderbeck again lighting the lamp twice – giving him four in the game – while teammate Dakota Raabe also scored. Paul McAvoy answered for the Eagles.
The Wild outshot Surrey 56-17 in the contest, with Eagles’ goalie Keelan Williams making 50 saves.
On Friday against Coquitlam, it was the Eagles outshooting the competion, peppering Express netminder Lawson Fention with 38 shots, while Surrey’s Michael Botiz stopped 17.
Coquitlam led 2-0 after 20 minutes, before Surrey’s Darius Davidson scored his 21st of the year to make it 2-1, though a pair of Express goals in the second half of the period gave the home team a 4-1 cushion after two periods.
Ty Westgard scored for Surrey in the third.
In Sunday’s home tilt against Victoria, Surrey again won the shots-on-goal battle but lost the game, firing 37 shots on Grizzlies’ Tony Rehm but scoring just once – Davidson scored midway through the second period.
Aside from Davidson’s marker, the game was dominated on the scoreboard by Victoria, as the visiting team scored three times in the first and twice more in each of the final two periods.
The Canadian Junior ‘A’ Hockey League’s trade deadline is Tuesday, and while Eagles’ coach Blaine Neufeld could not be reached to discuss the team’s trade plans, the team did make one more in advance of the cutoff point.
Last week, the team signed defenceman Landon Fuller, a 17-year-old six-foot-five defenceman from 100 Mile House who spent time this season with Salmon Arm, plus one game with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans.