If the Surrey Eagles are to have success the rest of BC Hockey League season, they’ll have to do so without their leading goal-scorer, their captain and, for a little while at least, also their leading point-getter.
On the weekend – which began Friday at South Surrey Arena with a 6-4 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals and ended Saturday night with a 5-1 loss to the Langley Rivermen – the Eagles dealt 26-goal-scorer Nic Pierog, 20, to the Penticton Vees in exchange for 18-year-old forward Anthony Conti and future considerations.
And Monday, the wheeling and dealing continued, as the rebuilding Birds sent captain Brett Mulcahy to the Vernon Vipers in exchange for 19-year-old forward Chase McMurphy. The Vipers will host this year’s RBC Cup.
And during the second period of Friday’s game, Eagles’ forward Jonah Renouf – who leads the team with 41 points in 38 games – suffered a hit to the head from Cowichan’s Colton Kehler, which rendered Renouf motionless on the ice. He was later said to be convulsing, and was taken to hospital.
Kehler was given a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for the play.
On a positive note, the team reported after the game that he was awake and responsive in hospital.
Renouf himself took to social media to let people know he was OK, tweeting late Friday night that “I’m under good care, awake, and responsive, thanks all for the support.”
And though it was unknown by Peace Arch News press deadline Monday how long the scoring leader would be out of the lineup – head coach Peter Schaefer could not be reached for comment – Renouf said Saturday he will “be cheering from the sidelines.”
As for the rest of Friday’s game, Surrey jumped out to an early lead before Renouf’s injury, leading 3-1 by the first intermission on goals from Danton Heinen – who added three assists in the game – Luke Sandler and Pierog, the latter playing his final game in Eagles’ colours before being traded to the Vees.
The three-goal first period chased Cowichan’s starting goaltender, Robin Gusse, from the game, as he was replaced by backup Francis Marotte for the final 40 minutes.
The visiting Capitals made a comeback in the middle frame, scoring twice – both by Dane Gibson – while Brett Mulcahy replied for the Eagles.
In the third period, it was the Eagles scoring twice, as Sandler and Pierog each notched their second goals of the game, while Cowichan’s Clint Filbrandt popped in a power-play goal.
Eagles goalie Devon Fordyce stopped 25 shots for the win.
Saturday’s game against the first-place Rivermen did not go nearly as well for the Birds, however.
Langley got on the board first with a goal from Kevan Killistoff, and the two clubs traded goals later in the period, with Conti scoring his first as an Eagle, followed by Matt Utaski replying for the Rivermen.
The rest of the game was controlled by Langley, as the home squad scored twice in the second – off the sticks of Jakob Reichert and James Robinson – and Will Cook added a goal in the third.
Surrey still sits fourth in the BCHL’s Mainland Division, five points shy of the third-place Coquitlam Express.
They’ve now lost three of their last four games since Christmas. In their first weekend after the holiday break, Dec. 28-29, Surrey dropped a pair of games to the Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Eagles head north this weekend for a two-game series against the division-rival Prince George Spruce Kings, who sit in second place, 13 points up on Surrey.