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Surrey Eagles pick up one point in Prince George

Overtime loss is best result of weekend for Eagles against BCHL rival Spruce Kings

The Surrey Eagles’ trip north wasn’t the most productive, as the BC Hockey League club managed to secure just one of a possible four points in two games against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The team’s lone point came in 4-3 overtime loss Saturday at the Prince George Coliseum – a game that very nearly slipped away from the Eagles’ grasp in regulation time.

Having led 2-1 after 40 minutes of play, the Spruce Kings tied the game at the eight-minute mark when Marco Ballarin scored, and with 1:31 left in the game, the home team took the lead when Justin Rai scored what appeared to be the game-winning goal. But with the clock ticking down, Surrey’s Danton Heinen – whom Eagles’ head coach Peter Schaefer had praised the week before as part of “the future of the team” – scored with 33 seconds remaining to tie the game and send it to overtime.

The extra session didn’t last long, however, as Rai – who also opened the scoring for the Spruce Kings in the first period – beat Eagles’ goalie Bo Didur to complete the hat-trick and give his team the win.

The other two Eagles to score in the game were 17-year-old affiliate player Quinn Lenihan – a six-foot-three Surrey native – and defenceman Kale Bennett, who scored his second goal of the season on a second-period power-play.

Anthony Conti – who the Eagles acquired from the Penticton Vees last week in exchange for Nic Pierog – also continued his strong run with his new team.

The six-foot-three forward, who is committed to the University of Alaska-Anchorage for 2015, had an assist and a fight in the game. In three games in Eagles’ colours, he has two goals and one assist while playing a physical game.

Didur also had a strong game between the pipes, stopping 31 Prince George shots, including a handful of point-blank chances in the third period.

Friday night, the Eagles dropped their first game of the trip, 6-3 to the Kings.

The Spruce Kings led 2-1 after the first period – Conti scored the Eagles’ lone goal – and the home team extended the lead to 4-1 by the end of the second period, on goals from Rai and Brent Lashuk.

Lashuk scored again 1:17 into the third period to take a 5-1 lead, and though Chase McMurphy and Nathan Renouf scored for Surrey to close the gape, Lashuk got his third of the game in the final minute, scoring into the empty net.

The Eagles, who’ve now lost three straight games, are still just four points back of the third-place Coquitlam Express in the BCHL’s Mainland Division. Surrey will have a chance to bridge that gap to just two points Wednesday, when they head to Coquitlam’s Poirier Sports Centre for a midweek tilt against the Express.

This weekend, the Eagles return to South Surrey arena for a pair of games.

Friday, they host the Trail Smoke Eaters and Saturday, the first-place Langley Rivermen are in town.

The Rivermen are winners of five straight games, and on the weekend became the first team in the BCHL to clinch a playoff spot.

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