Shortly before the Surrey Eagles’ game Thursday afternoon, a power outage at South Surrey Arena plunged the fans into temporary darkness.
And while the light was quickly restored – as was a pane of Plexiglas that also broke before the opening faceoff – the Birds’ normally high-wattage offence couldn’t regain enough power to overtake their BC Hockey League division rivals, the Coquitlam Express, who cruised to a 6-0 win in a rare weekday afternoon affair.
We've had a pane of glass break and a power outage shortly before game time, but we should be ready to go for our noon start vs Coquitlam! https://t.co/ihPUAvTLvW
— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) February 1, 2018
The game – played at noon – was billed by the team as a “School Day game” and the stands were filled with students from three Semiahmoo Peninsula elementary schools. Unfortunately for the more than 1,100 fans in attendance – the third sellout of the season, according to team officials – the home squad wasn’t able to sneak a puck past Coquitlam goalkeeper Brock Hamm despite peppering the Saskatoon native with 41 shots on goal, including 16 in the first period.
In the Eagles’ net, Daniel Davidson stopped 31 of 37 pucks fired his direction, and made 10 stops in the first period, though the visitors still went to the dressing room up 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.
Express defenceman Jonathan Sheardown scored his first goal of the season on the power play five minutes into the game, and then Coquitlam doubled its lead with eight minutes later, when Joshua Wildauer jumped on a rebound from a Jack Lippis shot and slipped it across the goal line.
In the second period, Wildauer struck again – on the power play – to extend the lead to 3-0, and the score stayed that way until 7:36 into the third, when Coquitlam’s Jack McNab made it 4-0, walking in from the blue line and scoring, after originally appearing to put himself offside.
The Eagles’ special teams continued to struggle over the final half of the period. First, they were unable to capitalize on a man-advantage of their own – during which Eagles’ head coach Brandon West called a timeout to try and shake some offence out of his club – and then, at the 12:23 mark, the Birds gave up another power-play tally, this time to Express forward William Lawrence, and then another – to Christian Sanda – to close out the game.
Thursday’s game was the Eagles’ only one of the week, as they had a rare weekend off from game action. Even with the loss, they remain no further down the Mainland Division standings than before; Surrey sits in second place, with 55 points, though the Prince George Spruce Kings have widened the gap between first and second, and have 62 points after the weekend.
The Mainland Division’s four playoff teams are already set, however – Prince George, Surrey, Langley and Chilliwack. If the season were to end today, Surrey and Langley would square off in the first round, though much can change over the final three weeks of the regular season, considering just five points separate fourth-place Chilliwack from the second-place Eagles.
The Eagles hit the road early this week – they’re in West Kelowna Tuesday to play the Warriors, and on Friday, they’ll head to Chilliwack for a date with the Chiefs. They’re back on home ice Saturday night, when they host the Langley Rivermen.