The Surrey Eagles opened their 25th season tonight and fans did not get the result they were hoping for as the team dropped their home opener 6-3 to the Langley Rivermen, however the team did show signs of breaking out throughout the game.
For the Eagles, the game was lost in the first twenty minutes as they did not have any part of their game clicking. However, with so much turnover from last year’s roster it was reasonable to expect that the team would have some growing pains as they start to gel with each other and get used to Coach Neufeld’s system. Former Eagle Ben Butcher opened the scoring for the Rivermen five minutes in to the game and added a second goal 4 minutes later. With the Eagles beginning a parade to the penalty box the Rivermen were able to take advantage and add two more goals to take a 4-0 lead in to the first intermission.
Coach Neufeld likely had a few words to say during the intermission and the message came through loud and clear to the Eagles. They tightened things up defensively limiting the Rivermen to just six shots in the 2nd period. The Eagles also continued their rough play from the first period, but took less penalties and when they did take a penalty, they made sure a Rivermen player would be following them to the box. This allowed the Eagles to start to showcase their offensive skill but they still couldn’t get the puck past Rivermen goalie Bo Didur.
In the 3rd period, the Eagles offense finally burst out when Paul McAvoy scored his 1st BCHL goal on the powerplay just 35 seconds in to the third period. Three minutes later Darren Hards would score a beautiful goal going coast to coast to get the Eagles within two. However, that would be as close as the Eagles would come as Max Kaufman would score on a weak shot off the face-off to increase the Rivermen lead to 5-2. Mathew Graham added another to make it 6-2. Darius Davidson responded with just over two minutes left to get the Eagles back within three, but it would be too little too late as the Eagles ended up dropping their home opener 6-3.
The Eagles will look to rebound on Sunday when they take on the Coquitlam Express at South Surrey Arena at 4pm.