|Alex Murray made a nice save on this break-away chance|
photo courtesy Garrett James Photograpy
The Surrey Eagles took flight in the third period changing a close game through forty minutes into a 6-1 blowout on Friday night over the Prince George Spruce Kings. After two periods it was a 2-1 game with the Spruce Kings enjoying a BCHL career first goal for Brogan O'Brien and wondering what could have been if not for a goal post.
On the very first play of the game the Spruce Kings found themselves down 1-0 when Ryan Fraser-Lee broke up a play in the neutral zone and sent Nic Pierog in on a three-on-two chance. As Pierog stepped over the blue line he let a deceptive wrister go that handcuffed Alex Murray and opened the scoring just ten seconds into the game on the first shot on goal.
The Spruce Kings would settle down and keep the Eagles of the shot clock for some time including the full two minutes of a penalty kill. That penalty kill also turned out to be a momentum changer as the Spruce Kings carried much of the play especially on the very first shift registering four shots on goal. Unfortunately all of those shots would be turned away by the one time netminder for the Prince George Cougars.
Devon Fordyce went from the Cougars to the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League and was recently acquired by the Surrey Eagles getting his first BCHL start on Wednesday night. That turned into a 5-4 and the end of a five game losing streak for the Surrey Eagles. Fordyce earned second star in his second game with the Eagles after posting the 6-1 win. For as little as Fordyce was tested in the first period, the Spruce Kings made the opposition netminder earn his star in the second period.
In the middle frame the Spruce Kings would end up with eight shots on goal and created no less than four glorious scoring chances. The only goal that Prince George would get would come off the stick of the sixteen year old rookie, Brogan O'Brien playing in his seventh BCHL game.
Off an offensive zone faceoff by Chad Staley that led to a shot on goal by Jeremiah Luedtke, O'Brien found the puck in the slot and was able to slip it from his forehand to his backhand and flip his first in behind a down and out Fordyce. The goal tied the game at one a-piece and provided the Spruce Kings with another chance to grab onto some momentum.
A few minutes later it would be the Surrey Eagles that would get the go-ahead goal that the Spruce Kings could never answer back. Under pressure in their own zone, the Spruce Kings would ice the puck forcing a defensive zone faceoff with no opportunity to change the players on the ice. With the puck pinned up against the wall, Johan Renouf would dig it out and find Danton Heinen at the top of the faceoff circle who would snap home his third of the season.
On the very next shift the Spruce Kings would have their best chance to tie up the game when Bryant Christian spotted Brent Lashuk with the puck through the middle. Lashuk went into the Eagles zone with speed and fired a hot shot of his own that beat Fordyce but not the goal post. The second period would end 2-1 in favour of the home team with the Spruce Kings leading 17-15 on the shot clock.
In the third period the Spruce Kings would get one more chance to tie up the game but again they would come up empty only to have the Eagles go the other way. Pierog got the puck and headed up the ice starting a give and go with Brent Mulchay, as he got the puck back he let another quick wrister go from the top of the slot that found the back of the net to make it a 3-1 game.
Not finished there, Pierog would come back for more scoring his hat trick goal at 12:16 of the third period. The Eagles would still add two more from Mulchay and Renouf on the powerplay to finish with four goals in the third on 13 shots total.
The 6-1 loss is the first time the Spruce Kings have allowed more than five goals against and the first time they have lost by more than a three goal spread. The Spruce Kings will have to put all of that behind them, learn from the experience and get ready to respond as they will be right back in the South Surrey Arena on Saturday night for a return matchup. The game has a 7pm scheduled opening puck drop and will be broadcast live on the Spruce Kings Mixlr channel and Fasthockey.com.