Monday, December 31, 2012

Morley Excelling in Alaska

2012 has been a year of change for Tyler Morley. The former captain of the Surrey Eagles wrapped up his junior career after the Birds’ playoff loss to the Powell River Kings in April, and in the fall, the Burnaby native made the move north to Fairbanks, Alaska to play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks in the NCAA’s Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

After four years with the Eagles, the transition to college hockey was an adjustment for Morley, but he has adapted well, posting six goals and four assists in his first 18 games – good enough for second on his team in scoring.

“It’s been a big adjustment with big expectations and lots of pressure, but it’s been really good,” said Morley. “It’s a lot faster hockey, but I’ve had really good support from the coaching staff, and they have a really good program. I’m really happy with everything so far.”

While Morley is focused on achieving his goals on the ice, he now has the added responsibility of balancing hockey with school. As a freshman, the 21-year-old is working towards a degree in business.

“You go from junior where you don’t really worry about school, and you can just focus on hockey, but now you have to focus on your priorities and have time management skills. The coach wants us to have at least a 2.8 GPA, and I think our team average this year is a 3.2 which is really high, so it’s good for the program that everyone is focused on school and everyone helps each other.”

Although the jump to college hockey has been a big change in Morley’s life, the move to Alaska has its own unique challenges, including the team’s travel schedule. The Nanooks fly down to the United States almost every other week during the season for away games, sometimes traveling as far as Florida, and every road game comes with at least a four hour time difference.

“It’s definitely different,” said Morley. “Flying everywhere is quite a luxury. It’s fun. We leave for road trips on Tuesday nights, so we’re with the guys all week. It’s really a different atmosphere than some other schools where they just bus to a game on a Thursday. We’re together all week from Tuesday onwards every other week.”

Morley might never have played in Alaska if not for a big decision prior to his final year in Surrey. He had originally committed to attend Merrimack College along with his younger brother Brandon, but the two siblings opted to de-commit, a decision that Morley is very happy he made.

“It’s something I’ll never regret,” he said. “Looking back on it, it was a tough decision, especially being a 20-year-old in the BCHL. I just stuck with my gut and had support from family, friends and the Eagles, and it turned out to be the best decision.”

The Nanooks currently sit in eighth in the CCHA with a record of 4-7-3-1.

Santaguida Snags Player of the Week

Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida has been named the Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week.

Here's the full release from the BCHL website:

Surrey Eagles goaltender Michael Santaguida has been named the Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending Dec. 30, the league announced Monday.

Santaguida posted the first two shutouts of his BCHL career on consecutive nights as part of a three-win Eagles weekend. The Mississauga, Ont. native notched his first goose egg making 41 saves in a 3-0 win over Chilliwack and followed it up with 32 saves in a 2-0 win over Coquitlam.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound netminder was named 1st Star in both shutout wins and also made 23 saves in the first game back after Christmas, a 5-3 victory over Chilliwack.

Honourable mentions this week go to:

Langley Rivermen F Jakob Reichert (1G 4A, FortisBC Energy Player)

Surrey Eagles D Craig Wyszomirksi (1G 1A, GWG, FortisBC Energy Player)

Nanaimo Clippers F Trevor Fitzgerald (2G 1A, 1st Star)

Surrey Eagles F Trevor Cameron (1G 2A, GWG)

Langley Rivermen F Mario Puskarich (2G 3A, 2nd Star)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Birds Blank Express 2-0

The Surrey Eagles completed an undefeated weekend, winning their third game in a row by a score of 2-0 over the Coquitlam Express on Sunday. Michael Santaguida made 32 saves for his second shutout in as many nights in the win. The Birds now sit just one point back of the division leading Chilliwack Chiefs.

The game began on a sour note for Surrey when new addition Troy Paterson left the game with an injury less than three minutes into the first period after taking a heavy hit from Express forward Malcolm McKinney, leaving the Birds with only five defenseman. The two teams traded chances in the opening period but both Santaguida and Express net minder Cole Huggins kept the game scoreless after 20 minutes.

The Eagles took control of the game in the middle frame, out shooting the Express 27-4 and scoring twice. Craig Wyszomirski -- fresh off his commitment to Merrimack College -- netted his sixth of the year at 4:26 when his wrist shot from the left point was tipped by the stick of Coquitlam forward Luca Leone and past Huggins. Surrey doubled the lead later in the period when Mason Blacklock tipped a Nic Pierog backhander from the slot into the Express' goal.

Coquitlam had a couple of chances to get on the scoreboard early in the third, including a golden opportunity for John Siemer when he made a beautiful deke to the backhand but missed wide of the net. Santaguida kept the Express at bay throughout the remainder of the third, and the Eagles built off that momentum, shutting the game down and closing out the victory. 

Santaguida has now pitched 146 minutes and 25 seconds of shutout hockey. The last goal he allowed came in the second period of Friday's win over Chilliwack. Cole Huggins also had a phenomenal game, despite the loss. The Englewood, Colorado native made 60 saves on 62 shots -- the most the Eagles have fired at an opposing goaltender all season.

Surrey will head out on the road next weekend to play games in Trail and Penticton on Friday and Saturday.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Cole Huggins - Coquitlam
3. Devon Toews - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Cole Huggins - Coquitlam
3. Devon Toews - Surrey

Wyszomirski To Attend Merrimack

For immediate release: December 30, 2012

Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club is thrilled to announce that defenseman Craig Wyszomirski has committed to attend Merrimack College, beginning in the 2013-2014 season. 

The 20-year-old blue liner joined the Eagles at the start of this season and has posted five goals and 14 assists in 30 games. A native of Mahwah, New Jersey, Wyszomirski has already played in the NCAA after spending the 2011-2012 season at Providence College where he played in four games.

"I think Craig has really taken his game to the next level with us this year," said Eagles Head Coach and GM Matt Erhart. "He's a big physical force, but he can also make plays, and he's been good on the power play and penalty kill. We're very excited for him."

Merrimack is located in North Landover, Massachusetts. The Warriors play in the NCAA's Division I Hockey East Association.

"Hockey East is one of the best conferences in college hockey," said Wyszomirski. "I'm just ecstatic to be committed to Merrimack. It's a small campus which is great because everyone knows each other. The hockey team is pretty popular on campus, and they're renovating their rink as well. It just seemed like a great place to be and a great environment."

Wyszomirski becomes the sixth member of the Eagles to commit to an NCAA school, joining Devon Toews (Quinnipiac, 2013), Michael Stenerson (Alaska Anchorage, 2013), Dan O'Keefe (Yale, 2014), Brady Shaw (Bentley, 2013) and Michael Santaguida (Vermont, 2013).

The Eagles would like to congratulate Wyszomirski on his accomplishment.

Pre-Game Report: Eagles at Express

The Surrey Eagles will look for their third win in as many days when they visit the Coquitlam Express on Sunday afternoon at the Poirier Spots and Leisure Complex. The Birds lead the season series with the Coquitlam 3-0-0-0. In the most recent game between the two teams, the Eagles picked up a 4-2 win at the South Surrey Arena on November 30th.

Surrey enters Sunday's action riding high after back-to-back victories over the division leading Chilliwack Chiefs. Saturday's 3-0 win in Chilliwack lifted the Birds into second place in the division, and the Eagles can move to within one point of the Chiefs with a victory on Sunday. After committing to Vermont on Saturday afternoon, Michael Santaguida was phenomenal in the Surrey goal against Chilliwack, picking up his first shutout of the year. The Mississauga, Ontario native has played in all three games against Coquitlam this season, allowing only four goals on 111 shots.

Coquitlam is coming off two consecutive losses to the Langley Rivermen on Friday and Saturday by scores of 6-1 and 7-4 respectively. In those two games, Express net minder Cole Huggins struggled mightily, allowing nine goals on 39 shots -- including three goals on his first nine shots on Saturday before being pulled from the net. On a more positive note, Forward Phil Zielonka has been an offensive juggernaut for the Express. After joining the team in mid-October, Zielonka has posted at least a point in 20 of the 21 games he's played in an Express uniform. The 19-year-old sits in fourth in the league in points-per-game with 1.48.

Where: Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex

When: 2:00pm

How to listen: Eagles Broadcast

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Santaguida Shuts Out Chiefs

Michael Santaguida made 41 saves for his first BCHL shutout and the first shutout of the year for the Surrey Eagles in a 3-0 win over the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night. The win was Surrey's second against Chilliwack in as many nights. The season series between the two teams now sits even at 3-2-0-1 for each team.

The goaltending was the story of the game as both Santaguida and Chilliwack goalie Mitch Gillam stopped every shot they faced through 40 minutes, despite high quality scoring chances for both teams. Chilliwack had the majority of the opportunities in the first two periods, out shooting the Birds 33-29.

The best chance of the game for the Chiefs came early in the third when Austin Plevy was left all alone at the right post with the puck loose in the crease, but the Chilliwack forward couldn't get his stick on the puck, and Surrey captain Brett Mulcahy cleared the rebound, leaving Plevy on the ice with his face in his hands.

The Eagles broke the deadlock at 5:24 of the third when Nic Pierog sprung Devon Toews down the right wing with a stretch pass. Toews fired a shot on goal, and Gillam let the rebound out into the slot where Trevor Cameron was ready and waiting to knock it into the open net.

After the Surrey goal, the Chiefs amped up the pressure, trying to find an equalizer, but Santaguida was equal to the task. The Birds extended the lead with under five minutes remaining when Brady Shaw picked up the puck in the slot after a bad turnover at the Chilliwack line and danced around a defender before deking to the forehand. On Shaw's initial shot, Gillam made a beautiful save with his right pad, but the Surrey forward persistently hammered the rebound into the net, giving the Eagles the insurance they needed.

Michael Stenerson would seal the victory with 1:26 remaining, scoring his tenth goal of the year into an empty net.

All three of Surrey's goals came at even strength as the Birds went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Chiefs were 0-for-5. New addition Troy Paterson played his first game in an Eagles uniform wearing #15.

The Eagles will wrap up their weekend with a matinee game on Sunday against the Coquitlam Express. The puck drops at 2:00pm at the Poirier Sports and Leisure Complex.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Austin Plevy - Chilliwack
3. Mitch Gillam - Chilliwack

My 3 Stars:
1. Michael Santaguida - Surrey
2. Trevor Cameron - Surrey
3. Mitch Gillam - Chilliwack

Santaguida Commits to Vermont

For immediate release: December 29, 2012

Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club is pleased to announce that goaltender Michael Santaguida has committed to attend the University of Vermont, beginning in the 2013-2014 season.

The Mississauga, Ontario native joined the Birds in late September and has been a large part of the team's success, posting a record of 13-5-1 with a 2.35 goals-against-average and a .930 save percentage.

"Michael is an extremely hard working goalie," said Eagles Head Coach and GM Matt Erhart. "All that work that he's put in shows in his numbers. He gives us a chance to win every single night, and that's all you can ask for as a coach. We're really happy for him, and he deserves it."

The University of Vermont is located in the city of Burlington. The Catamounts play in the NCAA's Division I Hockey East Association.

"I wanted to go to a place where the team wanted me and really wanted to invest in me as a player," said Santaguida. "That was the biggest thing for me, and especially for a guy that's my size. They looked past that and said that they still really wanted me."

Santaguida becomes the fifth member of the Eagles to commit to an NCAA school, joining Devon Toews (Quinnipiac, 2013), Michael Stenerson (Alaska Anchorage, 2013), Dan O'Keefe (Yale, 2014) and Brady Shaw (Bentley, 2013).

The Eagles would like to congratulate Santaguida on his accomplishment.

Eagles Acquire Paterson; Trade Bietenbeck

For immediate release: December 29, 2012

Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles Hockey Club announced on Saturday that the team has acquired defenseman Troy Paterson (92) from the Cowichan Valley Capitals and traded defenseman Austen Bietenbeck (95) to the Langley Rivermen.

Paterson is a Surrey native in his third full season in the BCHL. The 20-year-old has posted four goals and nine assists in 27 games with the Capitals this year. Paterson becomes the seventh player on the Eagles to hail from either Surrey or White Rock.

Bietenbeck is in his rookie season in the BCHL. The 17-year-old played 20 games for the Eagles, tallying one assist. A Langley native, Bietenbeck will now have the opportunity to join his home town team.

"We think Austen has a great future ahead of him, but we felt we needed to get a little more experience on our roster," said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Matt Erhart. "We think that we get that veteran experience with Troy, but in order to add that to our team, we had to give up a quality young player."

The Eagles would like to thank Bietenbeck for his time spent in the organization and wish him all the best in the future.

Pre-Game Report: Eagles at Chiefs

For just the second time this season, the Surrey Eagles will visit the Prospera Centre on Saturday night to take on the Chilliwack Chiefs. It's the second game in as many nights between the two teams after the Birds skated away with a 5-3 win on Friday night in Surrey.

Friday's win broke a four game winless skid for the Eagles and improved Surrey's head-to-head record with the Chiefs to 2-2-0-1. Nic Pierog had a strong night for the Birds on Friday, tallying three points for his first multi-point game of the season. Tonight, the Eagles will look to win two in a row for the first time since a four game winning streak at the end of November. Surrey has a record of 2-3-0-1 in the second game of back-to-back scenarios this season.

The loss on Friday was just the ninth time the Chiefs have lost in regulation this season, and the first time Chilliwack has failed to pick up at least a point when leading after two periods. Only four of Chilliwack's regulation losses have come on home ice where the Chiefs have won nine of 14. In Surrey's only other visit to Prospera Centre, Chilliwack skated away with a 4-2 win back on September 15th. All of the remaining games in the season series will be played in Chilliwack.

Where: Prospera Centre

When: 7:00pm

How to listen: Eagles Broadcast

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Birds Pull Off Comeback Win Over Chiefs

The Surrey Eagles trailed the Chilliwack Chiefs three times but stormed back to win 5-3 at the South Surrey Arena on Friday night. Nic Pierog led the way for the Birds with a goal and two assists while Michael Santaguida made 23 saves to pick up the victory between the pipes.

The Chiefs opened the scoring at 8:36 of the first period, scoring one of the strangest goals you'll ever see. With a delayed penalty call against Chilliwack, Santaguida went to the Surrey bench for an extra attacker, but a weird ricochet saw the puck end up in the Eagles' net. Chiefs goaltender Mitch Gillam was given credit for the goal as he was the last Chilliwack player to touch the puck. Surrey evened the score just over five minutes later when Pierog beat Gillam with a one-timer from the slot after a pass off the half-wall from Trevor Cameron. But before the end of the frame, Chilliwack retook the lead when Trevor Hills knocked the puck past Santaguida with 10 seconds to go before the intermission.

Surrey got an early power play in the second and Michael Stenerson capitalized, netting his ninth of the season to pull the Birds back into a tie. The goal ended a slump for the Eagles who had failed to score on their previous 26 consecutive opportunities with the man advantage. The Chiefs pulled in front again midway through the frame with a power play goal of their own scored by Alexandre Perron-Fontaine.

The third period belonged to the Eagles. Surrey battled back to tie the game for a third time when Jordan Klimek found Colton Mackie with a beautiful cross-crease pass, and Mackie buried his fourth goal of the year. Drew Best would score the eventual game winner with under five minutes remaining, and Demico Hannoun added an empty netter in the final minute to clinch the victory.

The game marked Surrey's first win in the month of December. The Eagles now sit one point behind Prince George for second place in the Mainland Division. Surrey also has two games in hand on the Spruce Kings.

The Birds and Chiefs will get right back at it on Saturday night when the two teams face each other again at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack. The Chiefs still lead the season series with three wins in five games.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Michael Stenerson - Surrey
2. Colton Mackie - Surrey
3. Luke Esposito - Chilliwack

My 3 Stars:
1. Nic Pierog - Surrey
2. Trevor Hills - Chilliwack
3. Michael Stenerson - Surrey

Friday, December 28, 2012

Pre-Game Report: Eagles vs. Chiefs

The Surrey Eagles will return from their holiday break on Friday when they host the Chilliwack Chiefs in the first of two games in two nights between the two Mainland Division rivals. The Chiefs lead the season series with three wins in four games.

The Birds are still looking for their first win in the month of December after losing three of the four games prior to the break and tying the other against Powell River. As a result, Surrey has fallen to third in the Mainland Division, sitting three points back of Prince George. However, the Eagles have three games in hand and will play them all this weekend while the Spruce Kings are idle. Surrey is 10-6-0-1 against Mainland Division opponents this season.

Chilliwack comes into Friday's action on a two game winning streak after back-to-back wins over Nanaimo and Langley before the break. Mitch Skapski won't play for the Chiefs after he signed with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL on Thursday. The 16-year-old had eight points in 29 games this season in Chilliwack. Chiefs net minder Mitch Gillam has been a large part of his team's success to this point in the year. Gillam has both the highest goals-against-average in the league (2.14) and the best save percentage (.939).

Former Surrey captain Tyler Morley will be in attendance for Friday's game. Now playing for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Morley has posted 10 points in his first 18 games at the NCAA level.

Where: South Surrey Arena

When: 7:00pm

How to listen: Eagles Broadcast or on 88.7FM in the arena.

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Matt Erhart Show: December 19, 2012

On the final edition of The Matt Erhart Show before the holiday break, the Head Coach and GM of the Eagles looked back on the games against Powell River and Prince George last weekend as well as the first half of the season as a whole.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thompson Shuts Out Birds

Kirk Thompson made 41 saves to help lift the Prince George Spruce Kings to a 2-0 victory over the home town Surrey Eagles on Sunday afternoon. The win was Thompson's second shutout of the season -- both of which have come against the Birds.

The story of the day for Surrey was missed opportunities. In the first period, the Eagles failed to score on three power plays, including a lengthy 5-on-3, despite out shooting Prince George 12-10. Neither team could find the net in the opening frame, although it was Surrey who carried much of the momentum.

It was the same story in the second. The Spruce Kings' parade to the penalty box continued, and the Birds once again failed to find the net on three chances with the man advantage. Surrey held Prince George to a mere three shots on goal in the period while firing 13 pucks on Thompson's goal, but the Surrey native turned them all aside, and the game remained scoreless through 40 minutes.

It seemed like the game may have been destined to end tied, but just over five minutes into the third, the Spruce Kings found their goal. Prince George captain Trevor Esau picked up the puck at the left point and fired a wrist shot on goal that found its way through traffic and between the legs of Michael Santaguida who didn't see it until it was past him. For the remainder of the third, the Eagles turned up the pressure, but Thompson was stellar in goal for Prince George, making a number of key saves on a variety of Surrey shooters. The 20-year-old also got some help from his goal post when Devon Toews wired a shot off the iron from the right point in the late stages of the game. In the final minutes the Eagles were forced to pull Santaguida to try and find an equalizer, but Coltyn Hansen assured the Spruce Kings of the victory when he scored into the open cage with 14 seconds to go.

Surrey finished with 41 shots on goal while Prince George only had 18 -- the least amount of shots the Eagles have conceded in a single game all season. The Birds went 0-for-7 on the power play and have now failed to score on their last 23 consecutive opportunities with the man advantage.

Each team has now won three games in the season series, although the Spruce Kings have picked up three more points than the Eagles by virtue of the fact that all three of Surrey's victories came in overtime.

The Eagles will now have 12 days off before resuming their schedule on December 28th at home to the Chilliwack Chiefs. For tickets, call 604-531-4625.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Kirk Thompson - Prince George
2. Trevor Esau - Prince George
3. Michael Santaguida - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Kirk Thompson - Prince George
2. Devon Toews - Surrey
3. Justin Rai - Prince George

Pre-Game Report: Eagles vs. Spruce Kings

The Surrey Eagles will play their final game before the winter break on Sunday afternoon when the Prince George Spruce Kings visit the South Surrey Arena. The two teams have already faced each other five times this season with the Eagles winning three of those games. All of Surrey's wins over Prince George have come in overtime.

The Birds are coming off a 5-5 tie with Powell River on Friday evening. Goaltender Michael Santaguida conceded all five goals on 35 shots. It's only the third time this season that the Mississauga native has given up more than three goals in a single game. After a month of November in which Surrey won nine of 11 games, the Eagles have gone winless in their last three. Heading into Sunday's game, the Birds sit in third in the Mainland Division with 37 points in 29 games.

Prince George will play its third game in as many days on Sunday after a 7-0 loss in Victoria on Friday and a 4-3 victory against Cowichan Valley on Saturday. The win in Duncan vaulted the Spruce Kings past the Eagles into second place in the Mainland Division, although Surrey has three games in hand. Prince George has the longest holiday break in the BCHL as the Spruce Kings won't play again until January 4th after Sunday's game.

The Eagles will be collecting donations to the Surrey Food Bank at Sunday's game. Fans can bring a non-perishable food item to the rink or donate money at the game as well.

Where: South Surrey Arena

When: 4:00pm

How to listen: Eagles Broadcast or on 88.7FM in the arena.

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Eagles and Kings Settle For Tie

For the first time this season, the Surrey Eagles played to a tie, finishing deadlocked 5-5 with the Powell River Kings on Friday evening at the South Surrey Arena. The draw ended the Birds' two game losing streak.

The Kings were the better team in the opening frame, generating a number of scoring chances and out shooting the Eagles 13-4. Despite carrying the majority of the play, Powell River didn't score until late in the period when Matthew Dupont knocked home a one-timer after a cross-crease pass from James Neil, and the Kings took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.

Demico Hannoun pulled the Birds onto even terms less than two minutes into the second period, firing a sharp-angle slap shot from the right boards that snuck past Powell River goalie Jonah Imoo on the short side. The Eagles took the lead a short time later when Mason Blacklock wired a wrister over Imoo's right shoulder off the rush. Stefan Burzan added his name to the score sheet at 7:32, walking into the slot right off a neutral zone face-off and scoring with a shot that beat Imoo cleanly. Moments later, the Kings net minder was pulled in favour of back-up Braeden Ostepchuk. Powell River pulled to within one goal when Jarryd Leung drove to the net and shoveled his own rebound past Michael Santaguida in the Surrey goal, but the Birds bounced back with two more goals from Drew Best and Craig Wyszomirski before the break, giving Surrey a 5-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Prior to the game on Friday, the Eagles were a perfect 11-0 in games where they led after two periods, but that streak came to an end as Powell River rallied to tie the game. The first Kings goal was scored by Jordan Burns on the power play before Evan Richardson and Luke Nogard added even strength markers to force overtime.

The Eagles had a number of high quality scoring chances in the two overtime periods, firing 10 shots on Ostepchuk's net while the Kings only mustered one shot on Santaguida, but neither side could find a winner.

Surrey's power play woes continued as the Birds went 0-for-3 with the man advantage while the Kings were 1-for-3. There were also a pair of fights in the game as Colton Mackie dropped the gloves with Evan Richardson in the second, and Craig Wyszomirski fought Stephen Hiff after the final buzzer, although the big Surrey defenseman was assessed an instigator penalty for the run in. The Kings finished ahead of the Eagles on the shot clock 35-34.

The Birds will play their final game before the holiday break on Sunday, December 16th when the Prince George Spruce Kings visit the South Surrey Arena. Puck drop is at 4:00pm.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Brady Shaw - Surrey
2. Jordan Burns - Powell River
3. Demico Hannoun - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Craig Wyszomirski - Surrey
2. Drew Dorantes - Powell River
3. Mason Blacklock - Surrey

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pre-Game Report: Eagles vs. Kings

The Surrey Eagles will look to get back to their winning ways on Friday evening when they host the Powell River Kings at the South Surrey Arena. The game will mark the second meeting of the season between the Kings and Birds. Surrey skated away with a 3-2 overtime victory at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack on September 7th.

The Eagles are coming off back-to-back losses in Victoria and Nanaimo last weekend. It's only the second time the Birds have lost consecutive games this season and the first time the team has dropped two straight games in regulation time. Surrey has yet to lose three games in a row. After missing last weekend's road trip with the flu, Michael Santaguida is expected to start against Powell River on Friday.

Powell River sits in fourth in the Island Division, heading into Friday's action. However, the Kings are a comfortable 15 points up on the last place Cowichan Valley Capitals. The Kings are coming off a 3-2 loss to Victoria on December 7th but have won five of their last seven games. Goaltender Jonah Imoo, who started in goal for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge in Nova Scotia, has been strong for Powell River this season, posting a record of 12-8-0 along with a 2.38 goals-against-average.

Where: South Surrey Arena

When: 7:00pm

How to listen: Eagles Broadcast or on 88.7FM in the arena

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Eagles Collecting Donations for Surrey Food Bank

For immediate release: December 12, 2012

Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles will be collecting donations for the Surrey Food Bank at the team's game on Sunday, December 16th against the Prince George Spruce Kings.

The Surrey Food Bank is a non-profitable organization that receives no government funding and currently distributes approximately 2,000 food hampers each week. Fans can bring non-perishable food items to the arena on Sunday as well as donate money at the game.

"Giving to the Surrey Food Bank is extremely important, especially at this time of year," said Eagles Director of Sales and Marketing Andrew Delbaere. "We strongly urge our fans to donate at the game on Sunday and help the less fortunate as we enter the holiday season."

Sunday's game begins at 4:00pm at the South Surrey Arena. For tickets, call 604-531-4625 (GOAL). Fans can also donate money to the Surrey Food Bank by visiting

The Dan and Mase Show: December 12, 2012

The Dan and Mase Show is a weekly program hosted by Eagles forward Mason Blacklock and defenseman Dan O'Keefe. This week, Dan and Mase were joined by goaltender Michael Santaguida and blue liner Devon Toews.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Birds Clipped 5-2 in Nanaimo

The Surrey Eagles lost their second straight game, falling 5-2 to the Nanaimo Clippers at Frank Crane Arena on Sunday afternoon. The loss marked the first time that the Birds have dropped two games in a row in regulation time this season.

Surrey jumped out to an early lead in the first minute of the game when Demico Hannoun beat Nanaimo goaltender Jayson Argue on the short side with a shot off the left wing. However, the Clippers evened the score just after the midway mark of the period when Michael Fretz, a call-up from the Oceanside Generals of the PIJHL, netted his first BCHL goal to tie the score.

Nanaimo took control of the game in the second period, out shooting the Birds 16-11 and scoring twice. Trevor Fitzgerald gave the Clips the lead at 7:39, and less than four minutes later, Brenden Forbes put them ahead 3-1. Brady Shaw had a golden opportunity to score for Surrey late in the middle frame but was robbed by Argue to maintain Nanaimo's two goal lead.

Surrey had a number of chances to get back into the game early in the third. Shaw had three breakaway opportunities but was stopped by Argue each time. The Birds finally broke through at 6:14 when Trevor Cameron buried his sixth of the season to pull Surrey to within one, but Nanaimo ended any hopes of a comeback for the Eagles when Kyle Kramer and Michael McNicholas scored 34 seconds apart to give the Clippers a commanding 5-2 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

For the second consecutive day, the Surrey power play was unable to convert, going 0-for-3. Glenn Ferguson made 40 saves in goal for the Eagles. With the win, the Clippers snapped a three game losing streak.

The Birds will now return home to play the Powell River Kings on Friday, December 14th. Get your tickets to the game to help support Kidsport Surrey White Rock as partial proceeds from each ticket will go towards funding that helps under privileged children play organized sports. For tickets or to donate, call 604-531-GOAL (4625).

Official 3 Stars:
1. Michael McNicholas - Nanaimo
2. Jayson Argue - Nanaimo
3. Trevor Cameron - Surrey

My 3 Stars:
1. Jayson Argue - Nanaimo
2. Michael McNicholas - Nanaimo
3. Trevor Cameron - Surrey

Pre-Game Report: Eagles at Clippers

The Surrey Eagles will conclude their two game Island Division road-trip on Sunday afternoon when they visit the Nanaimo Clippers. The game will mark the first meeting between the two teams this season and Surrey's only visit to Frank Crane Arena.

The Birds are coming off a tight checking 2-1 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night. It was the first time the Eagles have lost in regulation on the road since October 27th. Surrey has been strong away from the friendly confines of the South Surrey Arena with a road record of 8-4-0-1 this season. Sunday's game will mark forward Mason Blacklock's return to Nanaimo. The White Rock native was acquired from the Clippers in mid-September.

Heading into Sunday's action, the Clippers sit in fourth in the Island Division with a huge 14 point lead on the Cowichan Valley Capitals. Nanaimo is on a three game losing streak after dropping two games to Powell River and one to Victoria. The Clips have also had a tough time against the Mainland Division this season with a record of 1-3-0-0. That one win came against the last place Langley Rivermen back on November 16th. Nanaimo native Greg Fraser leads the Clippers with 30 points on the season.

Where: Frank Crane Arena

When: 3:00pm

How to listen: Nanaimo Broadcast

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Eagles Lose Close Affair in Victoria

The Fitzgerald triplets combined for five points to help lead the Victoria Grizzlies to a 2-1 win over the Surrey Eagles on Saturday night. With the loss, the Birds' four game winning streak was snapped. 

Surrey had a strong start to the hockey game but couldn't find the net, and the Grizzlies struck first at 3:22 of the first when Gerry Fitzgerald knocked a rebound past Surrey goalie Glenn Ferguson. The Eagles had a good chance to tie the game late in the first, but Brett Mulcahy wrung the puck off the iron with a shot from the deep slot. 

In the middle frame, the Grizzlies tried to extend their lead but Ferguson stood tall, turning aside all 13 Victoria shots in the period. At 15:21, Brady Shaw tied the game for the Birds with a hard slap shot from the right circle. The goal was Shaw's team leading 17th of the year. 

Victoria retook the lead midway through the third when Gerry Fitzgerald scored his second goal of the evening on the power play after the Eagles took a too many men on the ice penalty. The Grizzlies thought they had extended the lead a few minutes later, but the goal was disallowed after referee Ryan Benbow ruled that Stefan Nicholishen had kicked the puck into the net. The Birds had a number of chances to tie the game late in the third, but Victoria net minder Michael Stiliadis stood tall, preserving the victory for the Grizzlies.

The Surrey power play went a disappointing 0-for-6 in the loss, and the Eagles managed only 28 shots on the Victoria goal. Ferguson made 35 saves between the pipes in the losing cause.

The season series between the Grizzlies and Eagles is now finished with each team picking up a regulation victory.

The Eagles will get right back at it as they conclude their two game Island Division road-trip Sunday afternoon in Nanaimo. The puck drop will be at 3:00pm from Frank Crane Arena.

Official 3 Stars:
1. Gerry Fitzgerald - Victoria
2. Brady Shaw - Surrey
3. Leo Fitzgerald - Victoria

My 3 Stars:
1. Gerry Fitzgerald - Victoria
2. Leo Fitzgerald - Victoria
3. Glenn Ferguson - Surrey

Pre-Game Report: Eagles at Grizzlies

The Surrey Eagles will play the first of a two game Island Division road trip tonight in Victoria against the Grizzlies. It will be the second and final meeting between the two teams. The Birds defeated the Grizzlies 3-2 back on September 21st at the South Surrey Arena.

Surrey ended the month of November with six straight divisional games, and the Birds skated away with five wins in those match-ups. The Eagles enter tonight's action on a four game winning streak and can move past the Chilliwack Chiefs into first in the Mainland Division if they beat both Victoria and Nanaimo this weekend. Meanwhile, Devon Toews has been hot of late for Surrey. The 18-year-old defenseman has put up six points over his last three games.

The Grizzlies are coming off a 3-2 victory over the Powell River Kings on Friday evening. Victoria has only lost once in regulation in its last eight games and currently sits in first place in the Island Division with a four point cushion on the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The Fitzgerald triplets are clearly the top offensive threat for the Grizzlies. Myles, Leo and Gerry have combined for a whopping 75 points this season which accounts for over 30 per cent of the team's scoring.

Where: Bear Mountain Arena

When: 7:15pm

How to listen: Victoria Broadcast

How to watch: Fast Hockey

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Eagles Aim to Fill the Rink for Kidsport Night

For immediate release: December 6, 2012

Surrey, BC - The Surrey Eagles are aiming to fill the rink for the team's home game against the Powell River Kings on December 14th in support of Kidsport.

Kidsport is a non-profit organization that raises money to help provide children living in poverty from the ages of five to 18 with the opportunity to play organized sports that they otherwise would be unable to afford. One dollar from every ticket sold to the game on December 14th will be donated to Kidsport Surrey White Rock, helping children in the local community.

The Eagles would also like to encourage individuals and businesses to donate as well. For every $12.50 that is donated, the Kidsport Ticker on the Eagles website, which keeps track of the amount of money from each ticket that will go to Kidsport, will increase by one cent. The seating capacity at the South Surrey Arena is 1,250.

Keep track of the ticker by clicking here.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Kidsport for the game on December 14th," said Eagles Director of Sales and Marketing Andrew Delbaere. "Every child should have the chance to play sports as it keeps them healthy and provides them with many skills and life lessons that are incredibly valuable."

To donate money or to purchase tickets to the game, call the Surrey Eagles office at 604-531-GOAL (4625).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Dan and Mase Show: Christmas Wish Lists

This is the first episode of a new weekly segment here on the Eagles Insider Blog. The Dan and Mase Show is hosted by Dan O'Keefe and Mason Blacklock. The two members of the Eagles will chat with teammates each week about a variety of different topics. This week's show was about Christmas wish lists. Dan and Mase were joined by Trevor Cameron, Craig Wyszomirski, Michael Stenerson and Joel Gaudet.

Eagles Get Honourable Mention

For the second week in a row, the Surrey Eagles were given honourable mention when the CJHL put out the list of the top 20 Junior A teams in Canada. The Brooks Bandits of the AJHL remained in the #1 spot while BCHL teams on the list included Chilliwack, Penticton and Victoria.

Here's the full release from the CJHL:

The Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) in conjunction with NHL Central Scouting announced today its Weekly Top 20 rankings for the week of December 3rd. Last week’s rankings and the leagues in which the teams belong to are in parenthesis.

The CJHL Weekly Top 20 as of Monday, December 3rd

1. (1) Brooks Bandits(AJHL)
2. (2) Truro Bearcats(MHL)
3. (4) Minnesota Wilderness(SIJHL)
4. (5) Trenton Golden Hawks(OJHL)
5. (3) Flin Flon Bombers(SJHL)
6. (6) OCN Blizzard(MJHL)
7. (7) Soo Thunderbirds(NOJHL)
8. (8)Grande PrairieStorm (AJHL)
9. (11) Summerside Western Capitals(MHL)
10. (10) Buffalo Jr. Sabres(OJHL)
11. (9) Chilliwack Chiefs(BCHL)
12. (16) Yorkton Terriers(SJHL)
13. (15) Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners(MHL)
14. (13) Penticton Vees (BCHL)
15. (12) Victoria Grizzlies(BCHL)
16. (NR) Dauphin Kings(MJHL)
17. (HM) St. Michael’s Buzzers(OJHL)
18. (19) Smiths Falls Bears(CCHL)
19. (20) Saint Jerome Pantheres(LHJAAAQ)
20. (NR) College Francais Longeueil(LHJAAAQ)

Honourable Mention goes to the Surrey Eagles (BCHL), Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL), Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL), North Bay Trappers (NOJHL), Nepean Raiders (CCHL)

The weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the teams play, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.

The CJHL is an amalgamation of ten Junior A hockey leagues from across Canada. More information on the CJHL can be found by clicking on the league website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mulcahy's Hard Work Pays Off

On Friday, November 30, 2012, Brett Mulcahy was named the captain of the Surrey Eagles. The 19-year-old forward, who is in his second season in Surrey and third year in the BCHL, is having his best offensive season to date. But Mulcahy has had to overcome his fair share of adversity to reach this point.

After a pair of strong seasons in the BC Major Midget League with the Okanagan Rockets, the Kelowna native made the jump to the BCHL at the age of 17 with the Westside Warriors. Mulcahy posted 11 points in 34 games in the 2010-2011 season with the Warriors, but he was sidelined midway through the year by an injured wrist that required surgery. The following season, Mulcahy didn’t make the team out of training camp and was released.

“Obviously, when what happened in Westside happened, it was a shock,” said Mulcahy. “You feel like your world is crashing down.”

But that’s when he received a phone call from Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Matt Erhart. It was a call that has changed his junior hockey career.

“When Matt gave me a call and asked me to come to Surrey, it turned out to be a great fit,” said Mulcahy. “I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else now that I’ve been a part of this organization.”

In his first season with the Eagles last year, Mulcahy played more of a checking role and was counted on to win face-offs and kill penalties, but Erhart could see that the young forward was capable of more.

“Sometimes as a 17 or 18 year-old in the BCHL, you don’t get the opportunity just based on having older guys on the team,” said Erhart. “He’s a player that really comes to work everyday. He really trains hard, works hard in the summer and works hard at practice. Those guys are the types of players that continually get better, and we’ve seen that this year. He’s taken the next step from maybe more of a checker last year, to a complete player for us this year.”

With his increased role and improved offensive output, Mulcahy is enjoying playing the game more than ever, but he still yearns to improve and keep growing as a player.

“It’s nice to finally break out and be happy with my game a little bit,” he said. “Obviously, I’m never happy with my game. I still want to get better, but compared to the last two years it’s a lot of fun to come to the rink now.”

Now that he has the captain’s ‘C’ firmly stitched to his jersey as well, Mulcahy feels humbled to be leading the team, but he also truly enjoys playing a leadership role both on and off the ice.

“It’s a huge honour. There are a lot of guys in that dressing room who could have been named captain, so I’m excited to get the opportunity,” he said. “It’s sort of the style I’ve played all of my life. I’ve worn a few ‘C’s and ‘A’s in minor hockey. I think it’s just who I am and what I bring to the table.”