A win and an overtime loss – plus one game postponed due to weather – was enough for the Surrey Eagles to keep pace with the leaders of the BC Hockey League’s Coastal Conference.
On Friday, Surrey opened their Vancouver Island trip – the team’s second in as many weekends – with a 3-2 overtime loss to the Nanaimo Clippers, but rebounded Saturday by defeating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 6-3 on Saturday night.
The three-point weekend gave the Eagles 56 points, good enough to sit in a second-place tie with the Cowichan Valley Capitals; both teams trail the conference-leading Powell River Kings – who beat the Caps 5-1 Saturday – by two points.
Weather conditions on Saturday night kept the Capitals – who were to be the Eagles’ Sunday afternoon opponents in Cowichan – from traveling after the loss to Powell River, thus postponing the Eagles-Capitals game until later in the season. The game was the second time this season the Birds have had an Island game rescheduled due to weather; a November game against Alberni Valley was rescheduled for Feb. 18.
Friday in Nanaimo, the Clippers were paced by forward, and the team’s leading goal-scorer Kyle Kramer, who scored his 23rd and 24th goals of the season – including the overtime winner 1:39 into the extra frame.
Kramer’s first goal, on the power play, opened the score midway through the second period, but the Eagles – who gave the Clips six power-play opportunities – responded eight minutes later when captain Tyler Morley scored a shorthanded goal 30 seconds after defenceman Matt Cronin was whistled for a checking-from-behind penalty, which also saw him ejected from the game.
Dan Correale put the home team back in front 5:10 into the third period, but the Eagles salvaged a single point from the contest by virtue of Alex Hagen’s power-play marker at the 9:33 mark, which tied the game and sent it into OT.
Nanaimo held a distinct shots-on-goal advantage in the game, outshooting Surrey 39-21 – including an 18-shot barrage in the second frame – but Eagles’ goalie Andrew Hunt made 36 saves, earning third-star honours.
Hunt, a 19-year-old Surrey native, again made headlines Saturday, stopping a season-high 51 shots to lead the Eagles to their 6-3 win over Alberni Valley.
Surrey was outshot in all three periods – including a 22-4 disadvantage in the second – but took a commanding lead late in the first period.
Starting at the 14:53 mark of the opening frame, Eagles’ forwards Trevor Cameron, Hagen and Brett Mulcahy each scored exactly 60 seconds apart to put the visitors up 3-0 after 20 minutes.
The teams’ traded goals in the second period – Lars Hepso scored on the power-play for Alberni, and Sean McGovern notched his eighth goal of the year – and again in the third, when each team scored twice. Robert Lindores and Brandon Morley potted goals for Surrey, while Hunter Stewart and Tryg Strang replied for the Bulldogs.
Surrey blue-liner Steve Koshey chipped in with two assists.
After back-to-back coastal road trips, the Eagles will finally return to South Surrey Arena this weekend.
They host the Trail Smoke Eaters Friday at 7 p.m., and the reeling Victoria Grizzlies – losers of nine of their last 10 games – on Sunday at 4 p.m.