Good things come to those who wait.
On Sunday, the Surrey Eagles were proof of that, after a 5-4 victory over the visiting West Kelowna Warriors.
Coming off a pair of road losses to their BC Hockey League division rival Prince George Spruce Kings earlier in the week, the Eagles were set to host the Warriors Sunday afternoon, with puck drop set for 4 p.m.
However, due to some West Kelowna “travel issues” – the team was coming to the Peninsula from Powell River – the game was first delayed an hour, and then delayed a second time, with the game eventually getting underway at about 5:15 p.m.
The win was the Eagles’ first of 2015, snapping a nine-game losing streak.
And, perhaps owing to the aforementioned travel delays and the fact they were playing their third game in as many days, West Kelowna came out of the gate a little sluggish, allowing the hometown Eagles to jump out to an early lead.
Just a few minutes after Surrey killed off the first penalty of the game – Nick Beck served two minutes for interference – Jordan Funk opened the scoring for the home team. Five minutes later, Quinn Lenihan made it 2-0 when, with the Eagles on the power play, he batted a puck out of the air and into the Kelowna net.
New Eagles’ captain Ben Vikich – who was given the captain’s ‘C’ last week – capped the first-period scoring at 12:48 of the opening frame.
The tired Warriors picked up their pace in the second period, however, and battled back with goals from Braedan Jones and Kylar Hope to bring the deficit to just one goal, but Cole Plotnikoff – who assisted of Funk’s first period goal – re-established the Eagles’ two-goal cushion when he scored late in the frame.
The Warriors continued to claw their way back in the third period – Jason Cotton scored a power-play goal five minutes into the period – but again, the Eagles’ two-goal lead was restored when Darius Davidson scored.
Davidson saw an eight-game point streak snap earlier in the weekend against the Spruce Kings, but his goal Sunday gave him a team-best 21.
With Surrey up 5-3, West Kelowna’s Brayden Gelsinger made things interesting when he scored with 4:30 left on the clock, but the Eagles were able to hold off a late charge from the visitors to nab the two points.
Though playoffs are out of the picture for this year’s Eagles’ squad – they sit more than 20 points out of a playoff spot – head coach Blaine Neufeld said last week he wanted to see improvement in his club’s play – especially when faced with adversity, or games like Sunday’s in which the visiting club kept battling back on the scoreboard.
“We have to fight our way out of these kinds of things,” he told Peace Arch News at the time.
With Sunday’s win, the Eagles improved to 8-35-0-3.
Despite losses to Prince George on Thursday and Friday – 2-1 and 4-3 – there were positives to take from the games.
For starters, both were low-scoring, close contests. Secondly, there was the play of both Surrey goaltenders.
Thursday, Christian Short made 39 saves – many fit for a highlight reel – and despite the loss, was named first-star for his effort.
A day later, rookie Daniel Davidson stopped 30 of 34 shots in the 4-3 loss.
On Friday, Vikich, affiliate-player Logan Webber – a member of the major-midget Valley West Hawks – who scored his first-ever BCHL goal – and Plotnikoff scored for the Eagles. Plotnikoff scored Surrey’s lone goal Thursday, as well.
Surrey is back on the ice this Friday in Coquitlam against the Express, and Saturday night will host Prince George at South Surrey Arena.