The Surrey Eagles put together their best weekend of the young season by posting a pair of dramatic home-ice wins in B.C. Hockey League action.
The Eagles kicked off the weekend by rallying from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Vernon Vipers on Friday at South Surrey Arena. The Birds then followed that up with a narrow 54 overtime win over the visiting Trail Smoke Eaters Sunday.
The wins pushed Surrey's record above the .500 mark --5-5-0-1 and lifted the Eagles out of the cellar of the Mainland Division.
Surrey has enjoyed a rather relaxed schedule through the first six weeks of the campaign with two games most weekends and, so far, no three-games-in-three-nights road ordeals. Eagles coach Matt Erhart said the lighter schedule doesn't wear out the players but there can be a downside to it.
"Some weekends a light schedule is good and other times it kind of hurts you because you can't build any momentum," he said.
"This was a weekend where more games might have been good for us. We started slowly against Vernon Friday night but we took off in the third period. If we would have had a game the next day we could have kept the momentum going but with an off day, it got halted a bit. We started fine against Trail but we definitely didn't have the momentum we had going on Friday night."
Vernon led Friday's match 2-0 after one period and were up 3-1 late in the middle frame when Surrey received the spark they needed when newcomer Brady Shaw tallied 15 seconds before the second intermission.
The final 20 minutes of the game was all Eagles as Surrey out-shot the Vipers 15-6 and scored three times to cruise to the win.
"That second goal was huge for us. Going into the room only down by one goal instead of two changes everybody's mentality," Erhart said. "I could feel it in the room that the guys were going to have a big third period and they went out and did it."
Shaw finished the game with two goals to earn first star honours. Colton Mackie, Craig Wyszomirski and Demico Hannoun also scored for Surrey.
Surrey's defence stepped up in an unconventional way Sunday afternoon against Trail. All five Eagle goals were scored by defencemen, hightlighted by a hat-trick from Devon Toews. The second-year rearguard scored twice in regulation time and then bagged the game winner in the second overtime session.
"I don't know if I've ever seen that before in this league," marvelled Erhart, himself a former Surrey defenceman.
"I didn't even clue in until afterwards. It's pretty rare for a defenceman to get a hat trick - especially in the BCHL."
Wyszomirski finished with a goal and one assist while fellow blueliner Eric Chevrier collected his first BCHL goal.
The Eagles are back in action Friday with the first game of a home-and-home set with the Langley Rivermen at South Surrey Arena beginning at 7 p.m. The same teams play a rematch Saturday in Langley.
The Surrey Eagles have added some punch to their lineup with the acquisition of forward Brady Shaw in a trade with BCHL Mainland Division rival Coquitlam Express.
The son of former NHL player and current St. Louis Blues assistant coach Brad Shaw scored 333 goals with Coquitlam last season. In 12 games with the Express before the trade, Shaw had tallied six times with three helpers.
In his first game with Surrey Friday night, Shaw scored twice to spark a comeback 5-3 win over Vernon. The 20-year-old forward was not available for Sunday's game against Trail due to a university recruiting visit.
"He's a big-bodied guy who plays hard and he's always played good against us," said Eagles' coach Matt Erhart. "He scored 33 goals last year and already has eight this year so he was just what we were looking for. It's not everyday you can add a veteran, proven goal scorer to your lineup and he should help some of our younger guys develop. It'll take some pressure off them and it's a great fit for us."
Shaw came with a high price tag as Surrey had to send captain Brandon Morley to Coquitlam to complete the trade.
"It's a great opportunity for Brandon and we wish him all the best," Erhart said. "This wasn't a negative trade at all and it could work out good for both teams. We have to play them seven more times so if anything, this might just add something to the rivalry."
Erhart added the Eagles captaincy will remain vacant for now, but will be revisited in the near future.
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