Prince George, BC – After a rough weekend for the Surrey Eagles (15-19-2-4) last weekend, the boys have travelled back up to where their 2019-20 B.C Hockey League campaign started, and are getting set for a massive 2 game weekend series against the Prince George Spruce Kings (14-21-2-3). The Eagles and Spruce Kings are only separated in the standings by 4 points, with 4th place in the BCHL’s Mainland Division. With every point meaning so much, this weekend is effectively an 8 point weekend as these teams are looking to make a statement against each other. The last time the Eagles were in Prince George, they won both games to start their season 2-0 back in early September.
Eagles newcomer Reece Klassen will make his Surrey debut as the starting goaltender tonight, as he’ll look to make an impact with his hometown team. The roster will be posted on our social media channels later today, but no changes expected from the lineup against Victoria.
Who To Watch Out For
There’s no doubt these teams know how important these 2 games will be, and rising to the occasion will be the theme of the weekend. The Eagles are also only 3 points behind the Langley Rivermen for 3rd place in the division, adding to the pressure of this mid January back to back slate. On the season, the Eagles are 3-1 against the Spruce Kings this year, while the Spruce Kings are 1-2-1. Look for a couple of newcomers to try and propel their teams to victory in the first game of the most recent 2 game set.
Surrey Eagles: Reece Klassen
One day after having his rights acquired by his hometown Jr. A hockey club, Klassen flew out from Saskatchewan to Prince George to play in the double header this weekend. Klassen’s Western Hockey League experience will be a huge boost for an Eagles team in need of some help in the crease with Tommy Scarfone still out of the lineup. Klassen played in 9 games for the Swift Current Broncos this season, and had a 5.13 goals against average and an .878 save percentage. The last time Klassen was in Junior A, it was as an 18 year old with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he had 2.67 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Prince George Spruce Kings: Haydn Delorme
For the Spruce Kings, they’ve got themselves some added help from the WHL as well. The 19 year old forward from Port Moody, BC played with the Portland Winterhawks last season, putting up a goal and 4 points in 31 games. Delorme will look to add another dimension for a Spruce Kings team which has been ravaged by injuries this season. He’ll look to make his first impression a good one for his new team against their division rival.
3 Keys To The Game
These are huge games as the season trucks to it’s conclusion at the end of February, and the Eagles players know how important it is to be playing meaningful games down the stretch. The Eagles will continue to scratch and claw their way through the year, and look to put themselves back in 3rd place in the Mainland Division potentially as the season progresses. To start the weekend out right, here are the 3 keys to the game.
- Special Teams: The Eagles powerplay wasn’t good enough last weekend, and it saw the boys drop 2 of their 3 games. The last time the Eagles were in Prince George, their powerplay went 1 for 6, and their penalty kill got lit up a little bit. The boys still pulled through with 2 wins, but they’ll look to make life easier on themselves this time around.
- Make Klassen’s Night Easy: The Eagles defense has a goaltender in the crease who might need some time to adjust to his surroundings again. The boys will need to play strong in their own zone, and keep Klassen’s sightline clear to allow him the game time he needs to find his zone.
- Don’t Back Down: The Rolling Mix Concrete Arena is a small barn in comparison to other ice surfaces in the BCHL. This means the Eagles will need to be willing to go to the dirty areas, win pucks along the boards and crash the Spruce Kings goal.
A huge game between 2 Mainland Division teams vying for positioning in the Mainland Division. It doesn’t get much more important than these games until the playoffs start up, so the Eagles will need to rise to the occasion. Look for the boys to be better on special teams, Klassen to settle in, and the boys to fight hard everywhere on the ice as they’ll look to put their stamp back in Prince George.
You can catch tonight’s broadcast on HockeyTV and Mixlr; Cole Marton will have the call from the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena. Broadcast will start at 6:50pm, and puck drop is at 7:00 pm.