That Ain’t It, Chief
Chilliwack, BC – On a beautiful Sunday evening inside the Chilliwack Coliseum, the Surrey Eagles scratched, clawed, and willed their way to the 2nd round of the Shaw BCHL Playoffs after beating the Chilliwack Chiefs 3-2 in game 7. The win for Surrey was the first, and only road win of the series for either team as the Eagles move on to face the Coquitlam Express in round 2.
After coming back from 2 deficits in game 6, it was the Eagles who scored first in the decisive final game. With a large contingency of Eagles fans cheering the boys on, Eagles captain Hudson Schandor scored just 2:58 into the first period after Brett Bliss found him wide open on the left circle, and Schandor made no mistake on the powerplay to give the Eagles the crucial lead. Schandor scored again in the 2nd period to make it 2-0 after trying to find Cristophe Tellier, but the puck deflected right back to him and he made no mistake.
In such a huge game, Eagles head coach put it best. “I mean, if you’re going to look at our team and expect anyone to show up in a big game, I don’t think anyone would be surprised that Hudson Schandor would be the kid that would lead the charge. He’s kind of born for this, he wants to be that guy, he wants the challenge of trying to put a team on his back and win a series. I think him and Tommy did that tonight.”
The Chiefs made it interesting in the 2nd period. Clark Nelson and Jack Agnew scored their 1st goals of the post-season 1:38 apart to tie the game up. Those would be the only goals Scarfone would allow on 40 shots, making 38 saves for the game 7 win. Cam gushed about his goaltender after the series win, “Tommy, especially not starting the series and coming in relief of Reece [Klassen] when he got hurt. Then he took the series as his, he gave us an opportunity to win every night. Even when we couldn’t score, he was making saves and was the MVP of the series.”
In a tense 3rd period, the Eagles finally got the bounce they were looking for inside the Chilliwack Coliseum. Christian Fitzgerald, the game 6 hero, took a harmless shot towards the Chilliwack goal which deflected off the glove of Mathieu Caron and into the net, for his 3rd goal, and 6th point of the series. Fitzgerald had 6 points all season in 44 games, and scored the game winning goals in both games 6 and 7.
Cam added, “Well I think Christian has as many points in this series as he did all season. Speaks volume about a kid who never gave up on himself, he continued to push and do things the right way and that’s why he’s found success in the playoffs.”
The Eagles could’ve given up in game 6 after being down 2-0, but they didn’t. The Eagles fought back and won that game. In a crucial game 7, it was Chilliwack who clawed back from a 2-0 deficit of their own. Instead of folding, the Eagles came out hard, got their goal, and locked down the rest of the game through smart plays and a strong defensive structure. The Eagles also never played with their full lineup in the series, and Cam talked about all of it after the game 7 win. “Proud… It was an amazing display of character to fight back and face that kind of adversity. I’m just so proud, they showed so much resiliency through Chilliwack’s surges and found ways to create scoring opportunities so that we could try and win the game.”
Cam added more on the win later, “I mean, Chilliwack’s the program, other than maybe Penticton. They’re the 2 measuring sticks. We knew that coming into this year it was going to be a challenge to compete in this division with Chilliwack and Coquitlam. It’s a great step for the program to beat Chilliwack.”
The Eagles season continues, starting on Friday, March 13th as their 2nd round series with the Coquitlam Express will get underway in Coquitlam.