Last weekend wasn’t kind to the Surrey Eagles, who lost three games in three days to sink further back of their competition in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division.
The Eagles’ rough weekend began Friday at South Surrey Arena, with the Coquitlam Express – whom the Eagles’ defeated the weekend prior – exacting a measure of revenge for the earlier loss, beating their division rivals 5-2.
On Saturday, the Birds boarded a bus bound for Vancouver Island, but things went no better on the road for the Peninsula crew. Against the Victoria Grizzlies Saturday night, the Eagles failed to overcome a bad first period, losing 5-4. On Sunday afternoon in Nanaimo, a tired Eagles team wrapped things up with an 8-2 loss to the Clippers.
With the three-game slide, the Eagles sit fourth in the Mainland Division with a 3-8-0-3 record, but are now five points shy of the third-place Langley Rivermen, and 12 back of the Chilliwack Chiefs, who have 21 points and have lost just twice all season in regulation time.
On Friday night against the Express, it was Coquitlam’s Corey Mackin who silenced the home crowd earlier, scoring twice in the first period to give the visitors a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes.
The deficit only got worse for Surrey in the second stanza, with Coquitlam’s Jivan Sidhu and Brendan Lamont doubling the lead by the 13:59 mark of the period.
Surrey responded in the later stages, however – first on a power-play goal from Darius Davidson, and then, with 56 seconds left, on a goal from Joe Drapluk.
Rookie Ty Westgard – who is second on the team with eight points in 14 games – assisted on both goals.
The third period was largely uneventful, outside of Surrey goaltender Christian Short stopping 12 Express shots. Coquitlam’s Joey Santucci was the only player on either side to score in the final 20 minutes, potting an empty-netter with 23 seconds left in the game.
As was the case a day earlier, Saturday’s game against the Grizzlies also saw the Eagles fall behind early, this time by a 4-0 score.
Victoria opened the score 6:45 into the first – on a shorthanded goal from Jay Mackie – and then added three more over the next 12 minutes.
Surrey began a comeback attempt in the second, as goals from Spencer Unger and Spencer Meyer made it 4-2, and goal from Davidson less than two minutes into the third period cut the deficit to just one.
A power-play goal from Grizzlies Garrett Forster restored the home team’s two-goal cushion six minutes later, and though Surrey scored once more – off the stick of Liam Fordy – they could not do enough to send the game to overtime.
Just over 16 hours later, Surrey – playing their third game in less than three days – found themselves on the ice in Nanaimo for an afternoon battle with the Clippers, and the less said about the matchup, the better.
The two clubs played an even first period – Nanaimo’s Nicolas Carrier and Surrey’s Zane Schwartz traded goals – before the home team took over after the first intermission.
The Clippers scored three times in the second and in the third tacked on four more to send Surrey home with an 8-2 loss.
The Eagles’ lone goal of the third came from Cole Plotnikoff.
The Eagles continue on the road this week – they’re in Penticton Wednesday to play the Vees in the first game of a home-and-home series. On Friday, the Eagles will look to put a scare into the Vees in a Halloween night tilt.
Surrey Eagles head coach/GM Blaine Neufeld continued to tweak his lineup last week, sending veteran forward Ben Butcher – son of former Vancouver Canuck Garth Butcher – to the Langley Rivermen for future considerations.
Butcher, who played for Langley in 2012/13, was acquired by the Eagles over the summer, but had just one goal in 11 games in Surrey.