The Surrey Eagles are soaring through the early part of the BC Hockey League schedule, and are perched atop their conference with an undefeated record after five games.
The first-place Eagles were a perfect 3-0 heading into the weekend, and tacked on two more wins in a home-and-home two-game series with the Chilliwack Chiefs. Friday at South Surrey Arena, the Eagles won 4-1, and the following night in Chilliwack, escaped with a 4-3 victory.
On Friday, Ryden Evers and Jacob Bonkowski got the home team off to a strong start, as their first-period goals gave the Birds a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. In the second, Aaron Schwartz and Zach Wagnon also scored to double the lead, and the game stayed 4-0 until Chilliwack’s Brady Milburn beat Eagles’ goalie Eli Pulver to make it 4-1.
Pulver stopped 25 shots en route to the win.
Offensively, the scoring was spread around for the home team, with only one player finishing with multiple points – new defenceman Ross Roloson had two assists.
Saturday’s game was a much closer affair, though Surrey once again staked itself to an early two-goal lead thanks to markers from Wagnon and Jake Bongo.
With the Eagles up 2-0 through the first half of the opening period, the Chiefs responded with a pair of goals of their own – from Dylan Kinch and Cloverdale native Mateo Mrsic – to tie the game before the first period ended.
In the second frame, Cole Galata – with his first goal of the game – restored the Eagles lead, which stood until the third period when Winch notched his second of the game to tie it for Chilliwack. Five minutes later, however, Ewen Rennie – a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident and former White Rock Whaler – scored what turned out to be the winning goal, with Galata drawing an assist.
Starting on back-to-back nights, Pulver was again sharp between the pipes, making 25 saves.
The win left the Eagles as one of only two undefeated teams in the BCHL, along with the 6-0 Penticton Vees.
Not only did the four points keep the Eagles atop the Coastal Conference – they’re tied with the 5-1 Nanaimo Clippers, but have played one less game – the wins also keep Surrey in the lead for the Mainland Cup, which was introduced for the first time this season by the BCHL.
The Mainland Cup, introduced this year by the junior ‘A’ league, will be awarded to the Lower Mainland team – either the Eagles, Langley Rivermen, Coquitlam Express or Chilliwack Chiefs – that has the best record in regular-season games against one another. Each team plays against each other eight times this season.
So far, the Eagles are 4-0 in the Cup standings, well ahead of the Chiefs, who are 1-3 against Mainland competition. The Rivermen and Express are both 0-1, with most of their games so far this season coming against non-Mainland teams.
The Eagles are back on the ice this Friday (Oct. 14) when they host the Rivermen at South Surrey Arena, and on Monday, Oct. 17 they’ll travel up the Coquihalla Highway to Merritt to battle the Centennials.
On Oct. 20, they’ll head to Chiliwack for the BCHL Showcase, where they’ll play Prince George.