The Surrey Eagles’ grisly losing streak is over – barely.
On Friday at South Surrey Arena, the same night they collected stuffed toys for sick and underprivileged children, the BC Hockey League team managed to end a losing streak that had lasted longer than a month, beating the Powell River Kings 4-3 in overtime.
It was the Eagles’ first win since an Oct. 19 victory over the Coquitlam Express – a losing skid that had reached 16 contests.
“There’s a sense of relief, for sure. We got the win we needed, finally,” said Eagles head coach Blaine Neufeld. “For a hockey player, the best two words you can hear are ‘two points.'”
The streak very nearly hit the 17-game mark, too, had it not been for a late goal from Surrey forward Spencer Meyer, who tied the game with just 13 seconds left to send it to overtime.
Then, in the extra frame, Darius Davidson propelled his team to victory when, with the Eagles on the power play thanks to a Kings’ too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty, he beat Powell River goaltender Stefan Wornig with a shot at the 3:25 mark.
Surrey trailed three in the game – in addition to a pair of late-game deficits, they also got off to a slow start when Powell River’s J.J. Coleshaw potted the first goal of the night at the 18:55 mark of the first period.
But Eagles’ Sam Chatterley, now back from injury after a length absence, tied the game midway through the second period – a goal that caused Teddy bears and stuffed toys to rain down on the ice from the stands, as part of the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion.
The third period was the busiest for both netminders – Daniel Davidson got the start for Surrey, though long-injured Christian Short did dress as the backup – as the two teams combined for four goals.
Jacob Pritchard restored the visitors’ lead with a goal 10:35 into the third, but Darius Davidson quickly replied. Pritchard scored again with 1:50 left in the game – a lead that only stood until Meyers’ equalizer.
Friday’s win was the Eagles’ lone game of the weekend – they also played the Wednesday prior, losing 5-3 to Coquitlam – and truth be told, one could tell that a streak-breaking win was coming soon.
Gone were the nine- and 10-goal blowout losses – coincidentally timed with the acquisition of two veteran defencemen from Alberta – and Wednesday’s game against the Express was nearly the streak-breaker. Surrey lead that game 3-2 midway through the game, and entered the third period tied before the Express scored with less than seven minutes remaining to edge the South Surrey squad.
And a week before, the Eagles blew a two-goal lead late in a game against the first-place Chilliwack Chiefs – another game that very nearly ending the winless skid.
Surrey will look to make it two wins in a row Tuesday, when they head to Langley to battle the Rivermen. They face off against Langley twice more on the weekend – Saturday in Langley and Sunday at South Surrey Arena.