Friday, February 14, 2014

Gameday: Eagles vs. SilverBacks

Who: Surrey Eagles vs. Salmon Arm SilverBacks
When: February 14, 7:00 pm
Where: South Surrey Arena

Pay-Per-View: FAST Hockey
Radio: Ustream

The Eagles begin a busy weekend Friday in search of a season series split against Salmon Arm. Fresh off one of the wilder games of the season, a 7-6 triumph over Chilliwack that saw Braedan Russell pop in a game-winner in the final minute Monday, Surrey should find renewed confidence in their ability to score goals heading into the final half-dozen games of the regular season.

Friday's Valentine's Day affair is the second-to-last home game for the Eagles during this regular season, and Surrey might well be reluctant to play four of their final five games on the road after tonight. Surrey has posted a 12-4 record at the South Surrey Arena since November 1st, a marked turnaround for a club that went 2-7-1 in their first ten home dates.

Danton Heinen's hat-trick Monday thrust him further into the lead among the Eagles goal-scorers with 26 on the campaign. The Langley product, though, finds himself one point shy of Jonah Renouf's 56 for the overall team scoring lead. Heinen leads all BCHL rookies in scoring, though, and is one of only two skaters (Prince George's Chad Staley being the other) in the top 20 in league scoring who has yet to formally commit to an NCAA Division I school.

The Eagles have also called up a pair of affiliates from the KIJHL's Columbia Valley Rockies for tonight's game. Forward Matt Houston makes his fourth appearance in a Surrey sweater tonight, while fellow Calgary native Nigel Swab is poised to make his BCHL debut on the back end.

Last Meeting: Taylor Maruya's two third period-goals helped Salmon Arm to a 5-4 win in the Shuswap on January 25th. Surrey has won 4 of the 6 prior meetings dating back to the 2010-11 season.

Our Opponent: The SilverBacks come into the weekend in need of points as they look to climb back into the Interior division playoff picture. Salmon Arm enters play Friday one point back of the fourth and final post-season seed, held by the Merritt Centennials. BCHL scoring leader Landon Smith has had a season to remember; the Quinnipiac commit has tucked home 41 goals in 51 games and along with linemates Alex Gillies and Evan Anderson has formed one of the more dynamic top lines in the league. Watch for Salmon Arm to activate their defense Friday as well; rearguards Mitchell Ferguson and Andrew Farny have combined for 60 points from the back end. The SilverBacks are one of two Interior division teams (Penticton being the other) to boast two NCAA Division I-committed goaltenders, though future New Hampshire Wildcat and defacto number-one netminder Adam Clark has missed the last several weeks due to injury. Former Eagle Michael Roberts also makes his return to Surrey tonight, he was traded this past December in the deal that saw now-departed Luke Sandler arrive at South Surrey Arena.

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