With crunch time looming, the Surrey Eagles maintained their winning form with five out of a possible six points in B.C. Hockey League action last weekend.
The Eagles entered the stretch drive at full throttle with an impressive 4-1 over the Langley Rivermen Monday afternoon. That win followed a 5-2 decision over visiting Prince George on Friday and a 3-2 overtime loss to the Express in Coquitlam Saturday.
The Eagles now have eight games remaining on their regular season schedule and have opened up an eight-point lead over second place Chilliwack in the BCHL's Mainland Division standings.
Eagles coach Matt Erhart said games are tough this time of year. Not only are teams battling for every point in the standings, it's also easy to get distracted by obsessing about possible playoff dance partners.
"When you control your own destiny it's best not to look and analyze the scores and standings until after the games are over," Erhart said. "It's always a nice jolt when you pick up a win and then find out the team behind you also lost the same night. There's lots riding on every game now and every team, from top to bottom in the standings, is looking at positioning, who they might play in the playoffs, who's making the playoffs and who's getting home ice in the first round.
"There's lots of scenarios left in our division right now that have to be determined."
Surrey celebrated B.C. Family Day by thumping their eastern neighbours from Langley 4-1 Monday at South Surrey Arena.
The Eagles were full value for the win, outshooting the Rivermen 42-21, blanking the Langley power play on all five opportunities while scoring two power-play goals of their own. Surrey led 4-0 in third period before Langley's Mario Puskarich spoiled Eagle's goalie Michael Santaguida's shutout bid.
Brady Shaw led the Eagles with two goals while Drew Best chipped in with a goal and two helpers. Kevan Kilistoff scored the other Surrey marker.
The Eagles opened the weekend against Prince George's Spruce Kings with revenge on their minds after losing 4-1 on a Northern journey the previous weekend.
The Spruce Kings opened the scoring in the first period but Surrey netted the next four goals to take a commanding 4-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Eagles then turned things over to their defence who held the visitors to eight shots in the final frame to seal the win.
Shaw earned first honours on the strength of a goal and two assists. Joel Gaudet, Adam Tambellini, Tommy Stipancik and Brett Mulcahy scored the other Surrey goals.
The lone blip on Surrey's weekend record was an overtime loss to the fourth-place Express in Coquitlam Saturday.
Surrey led 2-0 after two periods only to have the Express strike for a pair of goals 44 seconds apart at the start of the third period to tie the game.
The Eagles outshot the Express 32-19 in regulation and 4-3 in overtime but had to settle for the loser's point when Coquitlam's Adam Rockwood bagged the winner in the second overtime period.
Shaw and Colin Mackie each scored once for Surrey.
The Eagles have a pair of tough games on the schedule this week. Surrey hosts the surging Nanaimo Clippers on Friday night (7 p.m.) before heading the Valley to take on archrival Chilliwack Saturday.