Following a couple days of rest, the Surrey Eagles set their sights on having a strong finish to the month of January by grabbing two points from the Nanaimo Clippers.
The Eagles trailed the Clippers by 9 points in the standings heading into the game, but the play on the ice would produce a very different result.
The song “9 to 5” recorded in 1980 by Country Music Icon Dolly Parton foreshadowed that it’s essential to get a solid 60 minutes of work from all players in order to achieve success, which is exactly what the Eagles got.
Keelan Williams returned between the pipes and got the call for the Eagles, while the Clippers went with Evan DeBrouwer. It resulted in not only exciting, but entertaining hockey for the fans in attendance.
Surrey started out with a bang, capitalizing on an early zone rush 26 seconds in with Desi Burgart getting his 16th goal of the season – which was set up from Darius Davidson and Cory Babichuk. It was the quick start that they wanted.
The Eagles continued to press, managing to get another one past DeBrouwer at 10:35 of the period. Calder scored his first on the night, putting Surrey up 2-0 after one.
The first could be best described as “tame” with only three minors being assessed, as the Clippers outshot the Eagles 11-9 heading to the dressing room.
Nanaimo’s Ben Solin got the Clippers within one early in the second period, after taking a cross-ice pass from Creamer at 1:05 making it a 2-1 game.
Dario Piva got his 4th goal of the season at 4:44, with Jordan Robert and Colten Gerlib getting the assists, putting the Eagles in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the game.
Finner got one back for the Clippers at 13:27, pulling them within one, but Ashton Calder notched his second of the night and 18th of the season at 14:49, followed by another Eagles’ marker 17 seconds later, when Burgart would notch his 17th of the season.
The second period saw Surrey outshoot the Clippers by a 12-6 margin, pulling away with a 5-2 score. The officials dished out 8 penalties in what was a much chippier period.
With teams trading goals in the third, it was Ashton Calder that had the last laugh. He scored his third goal of the game (19th of the season) giving the Eagles a comfortable lead, and they never had to look back.
As close as the Clippers got on the board, the Eagles responded and never relinquished the lead at one point doubling up on the scoreboard.
Nanaimo pulled DeBrouwer with 1:58 remaining in the third looking at cutting into the lead, but it was Dario Piva sending one in the empty net at 18:31 to give the Eagles an 8-5 lead.
DeBrouwer went back in for the face-off, but was again pulled for the extra attacker. This time it was Paul McAvoy notching his 16th of the season, also in the empty net giving the Eagles the 9-5 victory.
FortisBC Player of the game was Eagles forward Dario Piva, with 2 goals and 1 assist, while Calder was the game’s first star with the hat-trick.
Eagles Cory Babichuk (1 goal/3 assists) was the game’s second star, while Desi Burgart (2 goals)
was the game’s third star.
Unsung game star was Eagles’ netminder Keelan Williams, who recently returned following a long injury and was solid in goal.
The Eagles will face the Prince George Spruce Kings in their next game on Thursday, February 2nd at 6:30 PM. They will then hit the road for a pair of games in Wenatchee February 3rd and 4th.