The Surrey Eagles wrapped up a November to remember by doubling up the visiting Coquitlam Express 4-2 in B.C. Hockey League action at South Surrey Arena Friday night.
The Eagles played .500 hockey for most of the first two months of the season before running wild in November with nine wins and an overtime time loss in 11 games. Eight of those games were decided by a single goal with Surrey posting five overtime wins in six opportunities.
The Eagles shook off their nail-biting habit by posting pair of impressive wins over divisional rivals last week to close out the month. Surrey travelled to Langley Tuesday where they dispatched the Rivermen 7-3 before returning home where they derailed the Express Friday.
After enduring enough tight games this season to turn his dark hair grey, Eagles coach Matt Erhart was happy to play a couple games with a lead. Erhart said playing close games is great for playoff preparation but playing with a lead offers different challenges.
"As a coach you never want to take your foot off the gas," Erhart said after his squad broke open a tight game in Langley with four unanswered goals in the second period.
"In this league, if you do that and the other team is hungry enough, they can find a way to make it exciting at the end. It's nice to coach the final 10 minutes or so with a three-goal lead and just take care of business. It's much easier than coaching in a 1-1 game late in the third period when everyone is squeezing their sticks and trying not to make a mistake that will cost us the game.
"The toughest thing when you have a big lead in the third period is reminding the guys of the hard work it took to get that lead and to keep playing that way."
Surrey's recent run of success is reflected in the standings where they have climbed out of the cellar and currently hold down second place in the BCHL's Mainland Division standings. The Eagles now trail Chilliwack by four points with two games in hand.
The Eagles have also climbed into the national picture, earning honourable mention status in the latest CJAHL national rankings (Chilliwack is ranked 11th).
Friday night at South Surrey Arena, the Eagles took control of the proceedings by scoring two goals 33 seconds apart in the first period.
The Express battled back with two goals of their own in the second period but Surrey maintained its lead thanks to Trevor Cameron's fifth goal of the season. Surrey then iced the game with an unassisted marker by Jordan Klimek in the third period to close out the scoring.
Demico Hannoun and Mason Blacklock also scored for Surrey.
Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida stopped 43 shots to earn first star honours for the night.
Earlier in the week, the BCHL announced that Santaguida had been named the Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week for the seven-day stretch ending Nov. 25.
Santaguida backstopped the Eagles to a pair of overtime road wins over the Prince George Spruce Kings and posted a .955 save percentage and 1.38 goals-against average in the process.
The Eagles are back in action this weekend when they head overseas for games in Victoria and Nanaimo.
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