Surrey Eagles goalie Mario Cavaliere makes a save during the team’s best-of-seven second-round series against Prince George. (Garrett James photo)

Surrey Eagles’ playoff run ends after Game 7 loss to Prince George

Surrey loses twice on weekend to bring end to BCHL season

The Surrey Eagles’ season is over, after a Game 7 loss to the Prince George Spruce Kings Sunday night.

The Semiahmoo Peninsula-based BC Hockey League squad – who played the final game of the series without leading scorer Desi Burgart, who was injured in Game 6 – was shut out Sunday, 4-0. Just a day earlier, the Birds had a chance to close out the series on home ice, but lost 3-1 at South Surrey Arena.

It was the third straight loss in the series for Surrey, who had a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven showdown through four games last week. The team dropped a 4-1 decision in Prince George Thursday night.

With the team in transit from Prince George overnight Sunday and into the early hours of Monday morning, Surrey Eagles coach Brandon West could not be reached by Peace Arch News, but after the game Sunday, posted on Twitter that he was “Very proud of our players and their commitment to being a great team.”

“We expired tonight but this was one helluva season,” he continued.

Prince George now moves on to the BCHL’s Coastal Conference finals, where they’ll play the Powell River Kings. The winner of that series advances to the Fred Page Cup finals, against the champions of the eight-team Interior Division.

Sunday’s do-or-die final game – played after a 750-km trip north, less than 24 hours after the final buzzer sounded in Game 6 – saw the Spruce Kings jump out to an early lead, on a goal from Ethan de Jong just 3:35 into the first period, and the slim, one-goal margin stay intact all the way through to the third, as neither team bulged the twine in the second period.

Eagles’ goalie Mario Cavaliere was a big reason the scored stayed close in that middle frame, as the veteran keeper – who was acquired from Ontario at the trade deadline – stopped all 15 shots fired his way, while the Eagles managed just three of their own on Prince George’s Evan DeBrouwer.

The one-goal cushion lasted nearly the entire third period, too, and wasn’t until de Jong scored again – his second of the game and ninth of the playoffs – that the gap widened. Just 23 seconds after the 2-0 goal, the Spruce Kings got a third from Ben Brar into an empty net; the Eagles had pulled Cavaliere early in favour of an extra attacker.

Nolan Welsh put the game out of reach in the final minute to round out the scoring and send the Eagles home.

Saturday’s game was just as close, but unlike Sunday’s finale that featured no goals in the middle period, all the scoring in this one came in the second – within a 16-minute window.

Prince George scored the first three – Brar first, followed by two from de Jong – and the Eagles finally got on the board with 41 seconds left on a power-play goal from Matthew Campese.

The Eagles couldn’t carry the momentum into the third, however, and couldn’t beat DeBrouwer despite firing 10 shots his way.

For the Eagles, Game 6 featured a pair of important returns – captain Jordan Robert and defenceman Cory Babicuk both slotted back into the lineup after weeks-long injury-related absences – but the team’s return to health didn’t even last a full 60 minutes.

Midway through the third period, Burgart – whose 10 goals in 12 games led all scorers in BCHL playoffs – suffered a head injury on a hit from Spruce Kings’ Liam Watson-Brawn. Watson-Brawn was assessed a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for delivering a blow to the head, was later suspended four games, while Burgart missed the rest of Game 6 and all of Game 7.

For the season, 2017/18 marked the Eagles’ first playoff appearance in four years, and their first-round victory over the Langley Rivermen boosted them into the second round for the first time since their league-championship season of 2012/13. That year, Surrey won both the BCHL and western region titles – beating Alberta’s Brooks Bandits in the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup – to advance to the RBC Cup national tournament.

Since then, the team has struggled – including back-to-back seasons of single-digit win totals – but righted the ship this season under West, who joined the team last summer.

After Sunday’s loss, the Eagles’ official Twitter account sent a congratulatory message to the Spruce Kings, while also touting the job West did this season with a #CoachOfTheYear hashtag.

Just Posted

South Surrey church members ‘praying for accused mother… for the whole process’

Lisa Batstone’s second-degree murder trial continues this week in B.C. Supreme Court

City will ask Fraser Health to remove pay parking at SMH, Surrey councillor says

Surrey’s new council has already made parking free on neighbouring city streets

Health and Technology District breaks ground on new building

City Centre 3 is the third of eight planned buildings: Lark Group

Spawning salmon returning to North Delta’s Cougar Creek

It’s early in the season, but the streamkeepers are hopeful it could be a good year for returns

Surrey White Rock Ringette Association ‘excited’ about world championships coming to Lower Mainland

Ringette Canada says the sport has reached record registration numbers

Winter weather hits parts of Canada

As some parts of the country brace for cold, parts of B.C. remain warmer than 10 C

Giants serve up major defeat to Pats at Langley Events Centre

On the ice, Vancouver G-Men wrap up home stand with a 10-4 win over Regina Friday night.

Canada’s health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain: UN

The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Kelly Ellard’s boyfriend has statutory release revoked

Darwin Duane Dorozan had several parole infractions that found him ‘unmanageable’

New chair of Metro Vancouver board is Burnaby councillor

The 40-person board is made up of elected officials from 21 cities and one First Nation

Doctor’s note shouldn’t be required to prove you’re sick: poll

70% of Canadians oppose allowing employers to make you get a sick note

German-born B.C. man warns against a ‘yes’ vote on proportional representation

Agassiz realtor Freddy Marks says PR in his home country shows party elites can never be voted out

Fashion Fridays: 5 coats you need this winter!

Kim XO, lets you know the best online shopping tips during Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Most Read

l -->