Surrey Eagles goalie Kyle Dumba stopped 34 shots in his team’s win over the Langley Rivermen Friday. (Garrett James photo)

Westgard hat trick leads Surrey Eagles to win over Langley

BCHL squad wins once in three games last week

A hat-trick from team captain Ty Westgard and a 34-save performance from goaltender Kyle Dumba led the undermanned Surrey Eagles to their lone win last week, a 4-2 road victory over their BC Hockey League rival Langley Rivermen.

The game, held Friday at Langley’s George Preston Recreation Centre, was the second half of back-to-back games between the two Mainland Division squads; on Wednesday in South Surrey, the Rivermen won 4-3.

The Eagles weren’t able to carry Friday’s momentum into the rest of the weekend, however, and dropped a 6-2 game to the visiting Victoria Grizzlies Sunday afternoon at South Surrey Arena.

The Birds – who have been playing for the better part of the last two weeks with an understaffed roster due to a rash of injuries – still sit in the basement of their division, with a 6-15 win-loss record.

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The Eagles played with fewer players than allowed in both weekend tilts.

“It kind of started on the Island on the weekend (before), where a couple of guys got banged up and bruised,” Eagles assistant coach Brad Tobin explained prior to puck drop Friday, in a pre-game interview with team broadcaster Greg Balloch.

“We’re used to it… in Cowichan and Victoria, those last two games we were pretty much rolling nine forwards.

“It gives guys the opportunity to keep rolling… if you make a mistake or whatever, you’re (still) back out there for the next shift.”

Their place in the standings aside, there was reason for optimism for the inconsistent squad. For starters, the team’s goaltending situation is finally sorted out, after the trade last week of Daniel Davidson left the team with two netminders, including the recently acquired Dumba, who, it appears, will given every opportunity to claim the starting job in the crease.

In addition to Friday’s win, Dumba – who has BCHL and Western Hockey League experience – stopped 40 shots against the Grizzlies Sunday and 27 Wednesday in the first game against the Rivermen.

Offensively, the offence continues to be led by Westgard, whose eight goals and 23 assists has him perched atop the BCHL’s scoring race, one point up on potential NHL first-round pick Alex Newhook of Victoria.

But in addition to Westgard’s three-goal performance Friday, the team got goals over the last week from both Holden Katzalay and Justyn Gurney – who both scored in Wednesday’s loss, and now have five goals apiece in their short times with the team. Both were added to the roster at the beginning of October.

On Sunday, playing with just 14 skaters instead of the usual 18, the team got goals from Jake Toor and John Evans. For Toor – who has played just three games this season – the marker was his first of the season, and for Evans, a 16-year-old South Surrey native, his goal was his first-ever in the BCHL.

Evans, an affiliate player with the Birds who normally plays at the Delta Hockey Academy, scored his milestone goal from just in front of the Victoria net, after tapping in a pass from Corey Clifton.

The Eagles are back on the ice Friday at South Surrey Arena, where they’ll host the Powell River Kings. Another home game is scheduled for Sunday afternoon against the Trail Smoke Eaters – a game that has a 4 p.m. start.

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