Friday, January 24, 2014

Gameday: Eagles @ Smoke Eaters

Who: Surrey Eagles @ Trail Smoke Eaters
When: January 24, 7:30 pm
Where: Cominco Arena

Pay-Per-View: FAST Hockey
Radio: Ustream

Surrey begins its final Interior road swing of the regular season with a stop in Trail tonight. It's a chance for redemption for the Eagles after the Smoke Eaters handed them a rare home loss a week ago; tonight's matchup also marks an opportunity to build on the momentum of a thrilling 5-4 overtime victory over Langley last Sunday.

The Renouf twins came through with a clutch goal yet again Sunday, with Nathan deflecting home Phil Johansson's point shot in overtime to give the Eagles their first win in 16 days. Nathan and Jonah Renouf lead the team in game-winning goals with four apiece, and will surely be hungry to improve their point totals within the cramped confines of Trail's Cominco Arena.

After a long travel day Thursday, the team should have plenty of jump ahead of Friday's faceoff, and would do well to get off to a fast start against the Smoke Eaters tonight. Surrey has opened the scoring only seven times through 23 games away from home, but hold a 5-2 record when doing so and a 6-1 win-loss tally when leading after the opening period.

The Eagles will again rely on production from affiliate players this weekend, including forward Matt Houston, who impressed during a two-game stint in Prince George earlier this month, and centreman Spencer Unger, who has put together solid performances during recent call-ups both at home and on the road.

Last Meeting: Three early second-period goals paced Trail to a 5-3 win last Friday at South Surrey Arena. Tonight marks the final meeting of the season between the two sides.

Our Opponent: Despite being officially eliminated from playoff contention Sunday, the Smokies are far from a pushover, as the Eagles found out a week ago. Nick Deschenes' group plays a hard-working, opportunistic game, and certainly the Trail players are well aware that their late-season performances could translate into jobs next year. Goaltender Adam Todd put forth a strong performance when the two sides met last Friday night, stopping 36 of 39 shots.

In the Press Box: Forwards Mitchell Fyffe and Colton Mackie miss out for the Eagles. Trail's captain Adam Wheeldon and leading scorer Jesse Knowler both missed out on the Smoke Eaters' Mainland trip last weekend.

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