Tonight, the Surrey Eagles kick off their 2019-20 BCHL regular season with the first of a back to back in Prince George, British Columbia. Their opponent is none other than the reigning Fred Page Cup champions, the Prince George Spruce Kings. While the Spruce Kings saw some turnover of their own, they’ll be raising their banner tonight in what should be a full, and borderline overwhelmingly loud Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. A great first test for this young Eagles team which’ll look to start the season off right.
However, the Eagles aren’t coming into this one as healthy as they’d like to be. The Eagles will be missing a few players for the 2 game set away from home. In response, the Eagles will have 2 AP’s in their lineup to help fill out the forward lines. 16 year old Holden Cardinal and 17 year old Christian Fitzgerald will get an opportunity to play their first game with the Eagles tonight. The full lineup for tonight’s game is down below.
Who To Watch Out For
While the Spruce Kings are reigning champs, the Eagles were the only team to miss the playoffs last season. After an off-season which brought in new head coach Cam Keith, and a ton of major roster re-construction, the Eagles are looking to bounce back and rise back to prominence. They’ll be tasked with spoiling the Spruce Kings home opener, and banner celebration while also starting their season on a winning note.
The Spruce Kings lost a number of players from last year’s championship team, but there’s no doubt they’ll remain a tough test for any of the other 16 teams in the BCHL, and the Eagles have to respect them. With a raucous home crowd behind Prince George, they’ll have all the motivation they’ll need to really come out of the gate flying on all cylinders.
Here’s a key player to watch for both of these teams.
Prince George: Nicholas Poisson
The 18 year old forward who’s committed to Providence College for the 2020-21 season was named an assistant captain prior to the start of the regular season. Poisson will look to be an offensive leader for the club this year after his age 17 season saw him win a Fred Page Cup with the team. The forward put up 14-16-30 in 58 games played last year, and added 4-5-9 in 17 playoff games. While he’ll be looked upon to shoulder the load, he’s one of only 5 returning players in the lineup from last year’s team, so a lot will be expected from him.
Surrey Eagles: Hudson Schandor
For the Eagles, fans should keep their eyes peeled on assistant captain Hudson Schandor! The exciting forward who played for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks last season will look to carry his strong preseason over and be one of the top offensive players for a Surrey team without a bonafide star up front. Schandor was 6th in Salmon Arm scoring last year, notching 15-16-31 in only 41 games played.
3 Keys To The Game
The Eagles aren’t going to back down from any challenges this year, but Cam Keith knows this team faces a tough test early on. For the Eagles to come out of the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena with a win, they’ll need to make sure they stick to the systems in place, and follows these 3 key points.
The Eagles need to stay composed:
The boys are going to be playing their first game in front of a loud, and possibly overwhelming crowd in Prince George. There’s going to be a ton of excitement from the crowd as they celebrate their championship from last year, and it’s also the home opener. The team will HAVE to stay composed and stick to their system if they want to have a chance. If they can’t, it could be a long night.
Make Scarfone’s life easy:
The Eagles picked up 2 highly talented goaltenders this off-season with the additions of Cal Schell and Thomas Scarfone. Scarfone gets the start tonight, and this talented group of defensemen will need to keep the cross ice and grade A scoring chances to a minimum. If they’re able to do that, Scarfone will be able to play his athletic style, and the Eagles will be able to grind out a win if they necessary.
Scoring by committee:
The Eagles don’t have a star player that can carry the load offensively, but rather a number of players who can all produce at a top 6 scoring clip. Even with the injuries, if the Eagles can get scoring from 2 or more lines tonight, they’ll be in a prime position to head back to their hotel with a win in their back pockets.
All in all, this is an exciting time for everyone. The Eagles get a chance to start this season on the right foot, and wash away the odor of last year. It truly is a new era of Eagles hockey, and everyone involved can’t wait for puck drop tonight at 7:00 pm. You can catch the broadcast on HockeyTV and Mixlr, and the broadcast will start 10 minutes prior to puck drop!