Somebody forgot to tell the Surrey Eagles that mid-week road games normally go to the well-rested home team in the B.C. Hockey League.
The Eagles, struggling at 4-9, came from behind multiple times and pulled out a wild 6-5 victory over the Vernon Vipers before 1,553 fans Wednesday night at Kal Tire Place.
Defenceman Riley Hayles supplied the winner on a seeing-eye wrister from the point with Surrey on a power play in overtime. Vernon alternate captain Jesse Lansdell had served 47 seconds of an interference penalty assessed when he pushed Chase Stevenson into the end boards a dozen seconds into 3-on-3 extra play.
“We got lucky with the power play there and (Stevenson) Stevie fed it back to me and I was lucky enough to get it on net,” said Hayles, named the first star. “We didn’t know it went in right away, and the light went on, and we got to celebrate. It was a lot of fun.”
The Eagles forced OT when Hayles’ shot from the deep slot was deflected in front by Holden Katzalay past a screened Vernon goalie Aidan Porter. Surrey goalie Kyle Dumba, who finished with 39 saves, was on the bench for a sixth attacker.
The Eagles, who recently traded for the veteran 20-year-old Dumba, a former Calgary Hitmen player, are much better than their record shows.
“We like to think we’re a big, fast, skilled hockey team,” said Hayles, a silky, smooth Delta product. “I think if we bring our work boots every night then we like our odds.”
Vernon (3-3-4) thought they had locked up two points when Josh Latta completed an odd-man rush with 67 seconds remaining. Connor Marritt made a great feed for the primary assist with d-man Jack Judson netting his third helper of the night.
Viper D Michael Young opened the scoring at 51 seconds when he wired a slapper from just outside the blue line over Dumba’s blocker. Elan Bar-Lev-Wise drew the assist on Young’s third.
Surrey equalized at 8:40 when Max Mohagen picked up a loose puck behind the Vernon net after a shot by Corey Clifton and buried a beauty wrap-a-around for his first BCHL snipe.
The Vipers outshot the Eagles 17-7 in the opening 20 with Young rocking Caige Sterzer with the hit of the period.
“We just didn’t do ourselves any favours all night,” said Latta, of West Vancouver. “We didn’t manage our momentum at all. Look at the shot clock, we had enough shots to win. We need to have that killer instinct that (head coach Ferner) Mark talked about after the first period. We’ve got to come out with more than one goal on 18 shots. You can give them a little bit of credit, but at the end of the day, we can’t take that many penalties, especially in the third period. Whether you agree with the calls or not, we can’t put the refs in those positions to make those calls because we know they’re not going to do us any favours.”
Young, a Boston native who rang up nine goals last year, felt the Vipers failed to do enough for success Wednesday night.
“That’s an upsetting loss for sure. We had it a couple of times and we couldn’t bear down. It’s frustrating, to say the least. We’ve got to bounce back the next coming days and put it together. We’ve gotta put a full 60 minutes together and not just play certain periods well. You don’t wanna downplay their skills or their abilities. They’re a decent team obvious. They work hard and sometimes we got outworked.”
The Vipers, who lost 2-1 in overtime to Surrey in the Bauer Showcase in Chilliwack a month ago, struck iron three times in the second frame with Marritt, Logan Cash and Latta all just missing.
Surrey D Austin Herron levelled the score at 2-2 with a wrister glove side after the Eagles enjoyed some sustained pressure with 3:24 left in the period.
Lansdell pushed Vernon ahead with 2:21 left in the stanza when he tipped d-man Carver Watson’s shot from the left point.
Lansdell connected again with nine seconds to go, going to the front of the net and one-timing a pass from Alex Swetlikoff.
Matthew McKim gave the Eagles life five minutes into the third period with a long wrister which fooled Porter.
“I don’t have much to say about that game,” laughed Surrey head coach Peter Schaefer, a former NHLer who spent nine seasons with Vancouver, Ottawa and Boston. “You try and install and teach to, after a goal, go out and have a good shift and get pucks deep, and it seemed to be the next team would score after a goal and it just went on all night. I guess it’s entertaining for the fans, but for both coaching staffs, I’m sure we both have a few more grey hairs.”
Schaefer, 41, inherited a team with skilled players who stayed primarily on the perimeter. He has them going harder in one-on-one battles these days.
“We’re happy with the guys for the most part. We have good individuals, but we don’t have a good team. So right now we’re trying to work on the fundamentals of team play and we’re slowly getting that into them, but not consistent enough day in and day our. Once we do that, we’ll be alright.”
The Vipers lost Lansdell shortly after McKim’s goal with a blow-to-the-head minor and misconduct, while the Eagles lost Stevenson 25 seconds later with the same penalty call.
Surrey leading point-getter Ty Westgard, who was a threat every shift, pulled the Eagles within a goal when he went blocker side, back door, at 10:48. Cody Schiavon and Hayles pocketed assists. Westgard has five goals and 20 points, tops in the BCHL.
Teddy Wooding moved the Vipers ahead on the power play four minutes later, with his second of the season, on a tip of a Watson point drive.
The Vipers have added F Sebastien Streu from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in exchange for future considerations. Streu, 18, of Belmont, Man., amassed nine goals and 12 points with the WHL Kootenay Ice last year. He’s 6-feet, 170 pounds.
Vernon, who was without big d-men Austin Chorney (injured) and Landon Fuller (suspension) visit the Chilliwack Chiefs for a Sunday matinee.
The Vipers will be at the Okanagan Training Rink from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday raising money for KidSport. There is a toonie skate from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. with raffles, a barbecue and autographs. A 15-minute try on the skate-mill will cost $5.