Surrey Eagles forward Michael Campese celebrates one of his two goals Friday night against the Chilliwack Chiefs. (Garrett James photo)

Surrey Eagles take aim at top spot in division after two wins on weekend

BCHL squad to face off against Langley Rivermen twice this weekend

You’ve got to hand it to the Surrey Eagles – they know how to rebound from a tough outing.

Just a few days after suffering a 7-1 road loss to the Penticton Vees last Wednesday evening, the BC Hockey League squad bounced back on the weekend with a pair of impressive victories on home ice, winning 3-1 Friday over the Chilliwack Chiefs, and coming from behind Sunday afternoon at South Surrey Arena beat the Wenatchee Wild 3-2 in overtime.

“A wild weekend for the boys,” said Eagles general manager Blaine Neufeld Sunday evening.

The two victories boosted the Eagles into second place in the BCHL’s Mainland Division, with a record of 14-10-2-1 (win-loss-overtime loss-tie), and positions them just four points behind the division-leading Langley Rivermen. As luck would have it, the two Lower Mainland rivals will square off against one another twice this weekend, with first-place on the line.

On Friday, the Eagles got out to an early lead on a first-period goal from newcomer Micheal Campese – who was acquired earlier this month from the West Kelowna Warriors – and he made it 2-0 midway through the second period when he again beat Chiefs’ netminder Daniel Chenard for a goal, which was his fourth of the season.

Seven minutes later, Chilliwack cut the lead to 2-1, but it was as close as the Fraser Valley squad would get, as Eagles forward Connor Sundquist scored in the final minute of the period to restore the two-goal cushion. Campese picked up an assist on the power-play goal, as did Eagles’ leading point-getter Ty Westgard.

Daniel Davidson stopped 30 of 31 shots on goal to earn the victory in net for the home team.

“We didn’t say much to the guys today. We just hoped that they knew that they had a job to do tonight, and they went out and got it done,” Eagles assistant coach Linden Saip said on the team’s online broadcast after the game.

After Friday’s impressive performance, the Eagles were faced with a much tougher challenge Sunday – coming back from a two-goal deficit to beat one of the league’s best teams.

Wenatchee led 2-0 after the first period on goals from Murphy Stratton – who opened the scoring just 54 seconds into the game – and Chad Sasaki, but Westgard drew the score closer with the game’s lone second-period goal, his seventh of the season. Then, trailing 2-1 in the final frame, John Wesley scored his BCHL-best 21st goal of the season – on a breakaway – to tie it.

After the weekend’s action, both Westgard and Wesley find themselves inside the top-10 in the league’s scoring race; Westgard is just with 37 points in 27 games, while Wesley is sixth, with 33 points.

Neither team scored over the final 13 minutes of action, and Jeff Stewart – a Semiahmoo Minor Hockey product – potted his sixth goal of the season in 4:50 into overtime to give Surrey the win.

Goaltender Nic Tallarico got the win for the Eagles, making 33 saves – including a game-saving glove save in the OT sesssion.

Friday’s game against Langley is a 7 p.m. start at South Surrey Arena, while Saturday’s rematch will move to the Rivermen’s home rink, the George Preston Recreation Centre, and will also start at 7 p.m.

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