Just a few days after head coach Matt Erhart declared that his team had been having trouble finishing off opponents in overtime, the Surrey Eagles went out and proved otherwise.
Erhart’s Eagles – who had lost its last four OT contests, dating back to mid-January – won two overtime games last week, and added another win in regulation, and now sit alone in top spot in the BC Hockey League’s Coastal Conference.
On Wednesday in Nanaimo, Brayden Jaw scored the overtime winner to boost the Birds to a 4-3 win over the Clippers, and Friday at South Surrey Arena, the Eagles defeated Cowichan 8-5. Sunday’s game against the Langley Rivermen again took overtime to decide, but Alex Hagen scored 1:32 into extra frame to give Surrey two points.
“We’d definitely been having trouble winning those overtime games, but it’s like I joked with the guys going into overtime in Nanaimo – the only team with a worse OT record than us, was them, so maybe we can win this one,” Erhart said.
“Then sure enough, we went out and scored 17 seconds in.”
Though four-on-four overtime would seem tailored to the Eagles’ game, Jaw said his goal was a lucky one, more than anything.
“My shot was just through a screen and it just went in, I didn’t expect it. That was a lucky break,” he said.
Devon Toews, Sean McGovern and Robert Lindores also scored for Surrey.
Surrey, winners of four straight and five of the last six, now sport a 30-10-2-7 record, good for 69 points, one ahead of the equally hot Powell River Kings, who are 8-2 in their last 10. Third-place Cowichan fell off the pace after losing twice to Coquitlam on the weekend.
“It’s definitely nice to look at the standings on a Monday and see yourself in first,” Erhart said. “And we still have two games in hand on Powell River and Cowichan, so it’s up to us now where we finish.”
Despite being separated by 32 points in the standings, Saturday’s tilt against the Rivermen – who sit last in the conference – was a close one, with the team’s trading goals in both the first and third periods, before Hagen potted the OT winner.
“Their goalie made some big saves to keep them in it, and they scored a late goal to send it to OT,” Erhart said.
“Then when overtime went to 3-on-3, I just threw three forwards out there and said, ‘Go get us a goal.’”
Tyler Morley and Brandon Tanev scored in regulation time for Surrey, while Jackson Playfair and Mike Tebbutt – on the power play – replied for Langley.
Surrey backup netminder Conor Barrie was between the pipes for the home team, stopping 24 shots en route to third-star honours.
In Friday’s 8-5 win over the Capitals, it was special teams – specifically the power play – that was the story of the game.
Surrey, which has the fourth-best power play in the BCHL, was 4-for-6 with the man-advantage, while the Caps were 2-for-4.
Cowichan’s Darrin Robak opened the scoring with just five seconds in the first period, but the Eagles scored three unanswered in the second period to take the lead, though Cowichan fought back to tie by the second intermission.
In the third period, however, Surrey exploded for five goals – including an empty netter – to secure the win.
Lindores had one goal and three assists, while Steve Koshey had a three-point night with a goal and two helpers.
Other goals were scored by Tanev, McGovern – with two – Matt Cronin, Jaw and Morley.
Surrey is back on the road this weekend, with two games against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
– with files from Greg Sakaki