The Surrey Eagles opened the BC Hockey League season with a split on the weekend, beating the Powell River Kings in and losing to the West Kelowna Warriors at the league’s first annual showcase event in Chilliwack.
On Friday, the Eagles – whose playoff run last season was ended by the Kings – edged Powell River 3-2 in overtime, with Demico Hannoun notching the game-winning power-play goal, 1:01 into the extra frame.
Powell River opened the scoring when J.P. Villeneuve scored seven minutes into the first period, but the Eagles knotted the score at 1-1 when defenceman Craig Wyszomirski – a first-year Eagle who played last year in the NCAA – scored a power-play marker.
Wyszomirski finished with a goal and an assist, as did Brett Mulcahy, while fellow newcomer Stefan Burzan, a Surrey native, had two assists.
First-year netminder Glenn Ferguson, a Surrey resident who played last year for the Junior ‘B’ Delta Icehawks, got the win in net for thE Eagles, stopping 18 shots on net.
After having Saturday off, Surrey returned to the ice Sunday against West Kelowna, losing 6-1.
“Despite the score in that game, I was quite happy with how we played all weekend,” said Eagles coach Matt Erhart.
“In the first period against (West Kelowna), I thought we were unlucky not to be up two or three-nothing, and then we just had some breakdowns the rest of the way.
“But it’s a glass-half full approach. You hate losing, but this was our first time with our full, new lineup, so there’s always an adjustment, but at the end of the day, I thought we battled pretty hard.”
Mulcahy scored the Eagles’ lone goal, a power-play marker midway through the first period to give the Peninsula squad a brief lead, but it was all Warriors after that.
West Kelowna scored twice in the final four minutes of the first period – Jetlan Houcher and Seb Lloyd with the goals – and scored twice in both the second and third periods to cruise to the win.
Edward Dyson, the Eagles’ other new goaltender, took the loss.
“He made some timely saves for us in the first period, but then we made a few mistakes in front of him, and there’s probably one or two (goals) he’d like to have back,” Erhart said.
Erhart said he was unsure which of his two new netminders would shoulder the bulk of the work this season, instead saying the decision would be based on performance.
“Throughout training camp, they’ve both been good, so I think it’ll be a good internal battle, an ongoing thing. We’ll see if somebody gets hot, and we’ll ride him.”
The BCHL Showcase was a three-day, 16-game event, held at Chilliwack’s Prospera Centre, that featured each team in the league, with games counting in the regular-season standings. It gave each team a chance to get an early look at their competitors, while giving college scouts a chance to see many prospects all in one place. According to the league, 126 scouts were in attendance.
The Eagles will have their home-opener Friday, when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs at South Surrey Arena. Puck drops at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the two division rivals will square off again, this time in Chilliwack.