A modest two-game winning streak to end 2014 – the team’s first back-to-back victories since early October – quickly turned sour for the Surrey Eagles when the calendar turned to 2015.
After winning their first two post-Christmas contests – both against the Chilliwack Chiefs – the Eagles dropped their first three BC Hockey League games of the New Year, going winless on a Vancouver Island road trip last weekend.
On Friday, Surrey fell 7-3 to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, and Saturday, lost 6-4 to the Cowichan Valley Capitals – a game the South Surrey club led after 40 minutes. The Island-Division road trip ended Sunday, with the Birds dropping an 8-3 decision to the Powell River Kings.
In each of the three games, the Eagles started well – they either led, were tied, or trailed by just one after 20 minutes – but the team fell behind in the later stages of each game.
Against the Bulldogs, Surrey trailed 2-1 after the first frame, with Darious Davidson scoring the lone goal for the visitors. The teams traded goals in the second period, with Joe Drapluk bulging the twine for the Eagles, but Alberni Valley pulled away in the third, scoring four goals to just one – from affiliate player Sam Young – for the Eagles.
Despite allowing six goals – Alberni’s seventh was an empty-netter – Surrey goaltender Christian Short was strong between the pipes for Surrey, stopping 39 of 45 shots he faced.
Backup netminder Daniel Davidson got the call Saturday in Cowichan, and he played well, helping stake the Eagles to a slim 3-2 lead after two periods of play. Much like Friday’s loss, however, things unravelled in the third, with the Caps scoring four times to steal two points from their visitors.
Drapluk and Darius Davidson each scored again for Surrey, while John Wesley and Cole Plotnikoff rounded out the scoring.
Daniel Davidson got the surprise start Sunday, too – Short was originally pencilled into the starter’s role, but was a late scratch.
Despite playing their third game in less than three days – Sunday’s contest was a 1:30 p.m. start – Surrey jumped out to a lead early, again led by Drapluk and Darius Davidson.
Drapluk’s power-play goal midway through the first opened the scoring, and Davidson added a shorthanded marker six minutes later to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
Powell River scored a power-play marker of its own just 25 seconds later, but Drapluk struck again before the first intermission.
The lead didn’t last much longer, however, as the Kings scored twice in the first 1:21 of the second period, then tagged the Eagles with five more goals before the period ended.
With Short between the pipes in the third, Powell River scored one last goal – a power-play tally – to win 8-3.
The Eagles still sit at the bottom of the BCHL’s Mainland Division with a record of 7-29-0-3. The team is back on home ice this weekend.
On Friday, they host the Merritt Centennials, and Sunday, they’ll square off against the Vernon Vipers in a 4 p.m. game.