Pierog leads Eagles to victories at home
For all their inconsistencies this season, the Surrey Eagles continue to be dynamite on home ice.
The trend continued over a busy three-game stretch last weekend. On Friday, Surrey dropped a 5-2 decision on the road to the Langley Rivermen, but followed up with two straight wins at South Surrey Arena – beating the visiting Nanaimo Clippers 3-1 Saturday before edging the Coquitlam Express 5-4 in overtime Sunday afternoon.
Surrey has now lost just twice on home ice since Halloween. And while the team is still firmly locked into fourth spot in the BC Hockey League’s Mainland Division – where they’ve sat for much of the season – the two-win weekend has edged them into striking distance of the third-place Express, who now sit just four points up on the Birds, who are 15-19-1-0. Langley still holds the division lead with a 22-11-1-3 record.
Sunday’s extra-time victory came in the second overtime – which was three-on-three – courtesy of the Renouf brothers, as Jonah Renouf converted a pass from his brother, Nathan, to give the Eagles the win.
The game was otherwise a back-and-forth affair, with the teams trading goals in each of the first two frames, leading up to a scoreless third.
Joseph Drapluk – with his ninth goal of the season – opened the scoring for the home team on the power play, but the lead lasted less than three minutes, as Coquitlam’s Cameron Marks replied with a power-play marker of his own.
The second period was an offensive barnburner, as the teams combined for six goals. Surrey retook the lead with two quick goals, as captain Brett Mulcahy – back on the ice last weekend after missing a few games due to injury – and Danton Heinen scored within the first three minutes. Heinen also added two assists in the victory.
The lead wouldn’t last the period, however, as the Express bounced back with three straight goals – from Jackson Cressey and two from Corey Mackin – to take a brief lead, themselves.
Surrey’s Nic Pierog would score before the second intermission – his fourth goal of the weekend – to tie the game at 4-4.
Devon Fordyce was between the pipes for Surrey, stopping 29 of 33 shots on net.
Saturday’s win over the Clippers, who sit third in the BCHL’s Island Division with an 18-17-0-1 record, was a calmer affair than Sunday’s high-scoring OT thriller.
Pierog led the way for the home side, scoring twice and adding an assist on the team’s other goal, which Heinen potted late in the third period.
Edwin Hookenson was the only Clipper to beat Fordyce, who otherwise was flawless, stopping 35 of 36 shots in the win.
Fordyce’s only night off came in Friday’s weekend opener in Langley, in which Bo Didur handled goaltending duties against the Rivermen.
Neither squad got on the board in the first 20 minutes, before Langley jumped out to a big lead in the second period with four goals. Matt Utaski scored twice – one on the power play and one shorthanded – for Langley, while Pierog, on a penalty shot, scored Surrey’s lone goal.
In the third period, Mulcahy scored on the power play to bring the score to 4-2, but an empty-net goal from Langley’s Austin Azurdia sealed the victory for the home team.
As is often the case between the two division rivals, the game was a penalty-filled affair, capped by Rivermen forward Jakob Reichert, who – having already been whistled for two minor penalties in the game – was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for a blow to the head midway through the third period. He also finished with two assists in the game.
Surrey capitalized on the penalty with Mulcahy’s goal, but was stymied on their other opportunities, going just 1-for-8 with the man-advantage.
The Eagles will look to keep their winning streak on home ice going Thursday, when they host the Prince George Spruce Kings in their final game before the holiday break.
After Thursday’s tilt, the Eagles won’t play again until Dec. 28 and 29, when they’ll face off in a home-and-home series against the Chilliwack Chiefs.