The Surrey Eagles enjoyed a quick two-game romp through the BC Hockey League’s Island Division over the weekend, winning both ends of a two-game doubleheader.
The Birds began the road trip with a 5-2 victory over the Powell River Kings Saturday night at Hap Parker Arena, and a day later, travelled to across the Strait of Georgia to Port Alberni for a Sunday showdown with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, which the visitors won, 6-2.
The two victories didn’t boost Surrey any higher within the Mainland Division standings – they remain in third place, behind the Langley Rivermen and Prince George Spruce Kings – though the successful weekend did cut the distance between Langley and Surrey from in half, from an eight-point gap to four, as the Rivermen stumbled last weekend, losing all three games of their own Island road trip.
Through 32 games, the Eagles have a 16-12-3-1 record (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), which is just two wins fewer than they had all of last season, when they finished 18-36-4-0 and missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. (The 18-win mark was still more than double what the team had achieved in the previous two seasons combined, despite not qualifying for the playoffs.)
John Wesley – who had led the BCHL in goals for much of the season – was the offensive star for the Eagles in Saturday night’s win, scoring a pair of goals to increase his total to a league-best 25 on the year. The veteran forward scored the first and last goals of the game, with his first coming just 1:05 into the first period.
RECAP: The Eagles cruised to Powell River on the ferry, then cruised to a 5-2 victory after two goals in the opening minutes of the game. Johnny Wesley was named first star after he increased his league-leading goal total to 25 with a pair. pic.twitter.com/KsMTn6h6Vm— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) December 3, 2017
The Eagles exploded for three goals in the opening frame, with Chase Danol and Ryan Brushett also scoring before the first intermission. Jonny Evans replied for the Kings near the end of the period.
Desi Burgart, with an unassisted marker, scored the Eagles’ lone goal in the second, before Wesley’s second tally of the game, with less than five minutes to go, iced it for the visiting squad.
Nic Tallarico was between the pipes for the Eagles, stopping 30 of 32 shots en route to the win.
In Sunday’s afternoon affair in Port Alberni, the Birds showed few signs of fatigue despite playing less than 16 hours earlier on the mainland, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the 10-minute mark of the first period, on goals from Brushett and Owen Norton.
The goal-scoring onslaught continued in the second period, with Burgart, Aaron White and Brushett scoring to extend the lead to 5-0, before Bulldog defenceman Connor Welsh scored back-to-back goals late in the period to bridge the gap to 5-2.
Danol tacked on a shorthanded goal late in the third period to cap the offensive effort.
As much as the team’s offence was front-and-centre Sunday, goaltender Daniel Davidson shone equally as bright, making 45 saves for his ninth win of the season – a career-high number for the fourth-year puckstopper.
The Eagles are back on the road Friday to play the Langley Rivermen, and return to South Surrey Arena Sunday afternoon for a 4 p.m. game against the Bulldogs.
Eagles defenceman Perry Winfree will be getting a little hometown television time tonight (Tuesday), during the Vancouver Canucks-Carolina Hurricanes game.
Winfree, a native of Cary, N.C., will appear on the Hurricanes’ broadcast – it won’t appear on local Vancouver television – to discuss his experience playing with the Eagles and in the BCHL. He will be joined on the segment with the BCHL’s other two North Carolina-born players, Colby Pederson and Riley Johnson, both of whom play for the Coquitlam Express.
All three players were teammates with the Junior Hurricanes – a tier 1 midget squad – back home before moving on to the junior ranks.
Perry Winfree @perrywinfree of the Surrey Eagles @SurreyEagles, Colby Pederson @ColbyPederson, and Riley Johnson @Johnson11Riley of the Coquitlam Express @BCHLExpress will be interviewed by the Carolina Hurricanes at the Canucks game tonight. #formerJrCanes #bestbuds #missingSky pic.twitter.com/eFUahUZfSU— Tracey (@traceyunc) December 5, 2017