The Surrey Eagles’ chances at a first-place finish now lie in the hands of one of their biggest rivals.
After winning just two of five games last week – played over the course of six days – the Eagles sit just three points up on the Powell River Kings, who beat Surrey twice last weekend.
The Eagles have one regular-season game remaining, and a win would increase their cushion to five points, but the Kings still have three games left to play. If they win all three, they’ll finish one point up on Surrey, no matter what the Eagles do in their final game. Third-place Cowichan, four points back with two games remaining, can also tie the Eagles with 81 points.
On Saturday at Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena, the Kings beat Surrey 4-2, and less than 24 hours later beat them by two again, 5-3.
The weekend wasn’t a total loss, however, as the Eagles began the weekend with a 5-1 win over the Victoria Grizzlies Friday night in the provincial capital.
Surrey began the busiest week of its season last Tuesday with a 6-4 comeback win over the Langley Rivermen, but Wednesday in Cowichan lost to the Capitals, also by a 6-4 margin.
On Sunday afternoon, the understandably tired Eagles held tight with the Kings for 40 minutes – the game was tied 2-2 with Surrey getting goals from Michael Stenderson and Robert Lindores – but faded down the stretch.
In the third, after Tyler Morley gave the Eagles a brief lead with a power-play goal 53 seconds into the period, Powell River scored three straight, including an empty-netter with one second left on the clock.
Saturday’s game was similar for the visiting Birds, who jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals from Steve Koshey and Stenerson, only to watch as the Kings responded with four straight goals of their own, including two in the third period.
The Eagles had less trouble Friday in Victoria, getting goals from five different players – Colton Mackie, Demico Hannoun, Koshey, Brett Mulcahy and Brayden Jaw.
As was the case in the two tilts against the Kings, the travel-weary Eagles lost Wednesday in Cowichan partly due to a poor third period.
Surrey fell behind 2-0 by the 10:46 mark of the first period, but battled back to tie the game by the first intermission, and the teams traded goals in the second before the home side took over in the final 20 minutes.
The Capitals potted three in the third – two off the stick of Logan Proulx. Surrey got goals from Jaw, Morley, Lindores and defenceman Linden Saip.
Surrey, which since Christmas has been thehottest team in the BC Hockey League outside of Penticton – who’ve won 40 straight games – had to fight for the first win of the week last Tuesday in Langley.
They trailed 3-1 to the last-place Rivermen before mounting a mid-game comeback.
Surrey wraps up its regular season Friday, at home against the Westside Warriors, and playoffs begin March 16.
Just four teams from each conference qualify for playoffs, and each series is a best-of-seven format.