Kenny Riddett’s forward line – which also included wingers Brandon Santa Juana and Carter King – was singled out for praise by Surrey Eagles head coach Cam Keith after a two-game sweep of the Prince George Spruce Kings on the weekend. (Garrett James photo)

Surrey Eagles sweep road games in Prince George

South Surrey-based BCHL team now 4-0 on road against Spruce Kings

Last week, a few days before the Canadian junior hockey trade deadline, Surrey Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld said he liked his team’s young core, and he would only acquire help for a playoff push if it could be done without trading away a key piece from that group.

“We see that we have such a quality group, we want to keep in intact,” he told Peace Arch News at the time.

And so the Jan. 10 deadline came and went with the BC Hockey League team making only two moves – bringing in a new backup netminder, Reece Klassen, while trading away the incumbent, Cal Schell, to make room.

A few hours after the deadline passed, the Eagles went out and showed that their GM was right to have faith in them, winning on the road in Prince George, 4-3 over the division-rival Spruce Kings. A day later, they completed the sweep of their northern foes, winning 4-1.

• READ ALSO: Surrey Eagles acquire WHL goaltender in deal with Fort McMurray

Prince George’s Rolling Mix Concrete Arena has normally been a tough place for visiting teams to play, but the Eagles have found success there this season. They have a perfect 4-0 win-loss record in the Spruce Kings’ barn, having also sweep a season-opening series there in September.

“To win any game in PG is extremely hard, so I’m a very proud coach right now. I don’t think there’s anything specific as to why we were able to go 4-0 up here this season,” said Eagles head coach Cam Keith.

“We just played really well every game we played here.”

The two recent victories bumped the Birds’ overall record to 17-19-2-4 (win-loss-overtime loss-shootout loss), and while they’re still in fourth in the BCHL’s Mainland Division, they now sit just one point back of the Langley Rivermen, who are in third, and nine back of the second-place Chilliwack Chiefs. Surrey is now seven points up on Prince George, who sit in fifth.

The team’s newest acquisition played a major role in the two victories, too, as Klassen was thrust immediately into the starter’s role due to a groin injury to regular starter Thomas Scarfone. Klassen, 20, had been playing in the Western Hockey League for the Swift Current Broncos, but trades there bumped him from the crease. His junior ‘A’ rights were acquired by Surrey, from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons, and he joined his new team in time for the weekend.

To make room, Schell – who had ceded the bulk of the goalie starts to Scarfone as the season wore on – was dealt to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Flin Flon Bombers.

Klassen – a Surrey native who has also played for Lethbridge in the WHL – stopped 22 of 25 shots Friday and 27 of 28 on Saturday.

“He was the best player on the ice this weekend,” Keith said of his new netminder.

“Reece is just so calming. Any shots from the points he soaks them up, or kicks them into the corners. There’s not a lot of extra scrambles. He’s extremely composed. He’s a 20-year-old veteran who has played at a very high level of hockey.”

On Friday, the Eagles found themselves in a 1-0 hole after the opening period – Nicholas Poisson scored for the home team just over seven minutes into the game – but Surrey answered back in the second, scoring four goals in a wild 20 minutes than saw the team’s combine for six total markers.

Rookie Carter King – who Keith said has “taken his game to a whole other level,” of late – scored a pair of goals, while Gabe Schovanek and defenceman Brett Bliss rounded out the scoring for Surrey.

Neither team scored in the third period.

King’s line, which also included Brandon Santa Juana and center Kenny Riddett, was the team’s “best line this weekend, by far,” Keith added.

The line combined to score the opening goal in Saturday’s game, too, with Santa Juana scoring and the other two drawing assists.

Defenceman Owen Nolan made it 2-0 just 40 seconds into the second period – with Santa Juana and Riddett assisting – and captain Hudson Schandor and Schovanek rounded out the scoring with third-period goals.

The Eagles will stay on the road this week, too. On Wednesday, they played a midweek tilt against the first-place Express in Coquitlam, and on Friday, they’ll head to West Kelowna to take on the Warriors. On Saturday, they head across the border to take on the Wenatchee Wild.

Surrey’s next home game is Jan. 24, when Prince George comes to South Surrey Arena.



sports@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Task force brainstorms on support for Semiahmoo homeless community

Community service providers gather to discuss options for housing, income safety and more

Two people reportedly sent to hospital after two-vehicle collision in Surrey

Collision happened on the 16500-block of 64 Avenue

Surrey brothers win trip to review Mexico resort

Shaynen and Brennen Singh featured in latest Sunwing commercial

Popular rector retires after 12 years with St. Mark’s Anglican Church

‘A good moment to step away,’ says Craig Tanksley

South Surrey couple donates $250K to students in honour of late son

Joseph Chung Scholarship Fund helps out 100 post-secondary students

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

Coronavirus concerns cause cancellation of Langley Lunar New Year celebration

Close to 1,000 were expected to attend the annual Live In Langley event on Saturday

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Most Read

l -->