When is a game summary and a game preview the same thing? When you play the same opponent twice in 24 hours! Puck-drop fast approaches for tonight's rematch between the Surrey Eagles and Chilliwack Chiefs, but before that, let's review last night, shall we?
- Trevor MacLean's goal tie things up in the late stages of the third period, with goalie Christian Short pulled for the extra attacker, will eventually be credited to Ty Westgard for his third goal in as many games this season. John Cullen and I both credited it to a Westgard tip out front on the broadcast, though it was announced as MacLean's goal from Westgard in the building and in the official scoring summary. Ty did tip that puck however, and you can expect his stat line to be corrected to reflect that by Monday morning.
- Staying on MacLean, I wrote after last week's action that early indications from him in his first Eagles games were all positive -- that he was a tantalizing player worth keeping an eye on all season. I know it's only been three games, but he is quickly establishing himself not just as one of Surrey's top defenders, but one of their best players period. (And I'm not just saying that because we share the same hometown.)
- That makes it all the more difficult to lose him for tonight's action. Late in the third period, MacLean sacrificed the body to block a slapper in his own end, with Surrey still pressing to tie. The puck stung him off the ankle, and he laboured to pick himself up off the ice, nevermind make his way back to the bench. He battled through it to the end of the game (and given the role he played in creating the tying goal, the team has to be plenty glad that he did), but that's the kind of thing that will really start to swell once you take off the skate-boot. That seems to be the case here, though the team is optimistic he won't be gone for long.
- In his place on D this evening will be Sam Chatterley, swinging back from the role he's played of late up front as a forward. Chatterley, much like Quinn Lenihan, is a guy who has played the bulk of his hockey life as a defenseman, only making the move to forward in the last few years. This will be his first game of the season as a defender, while Lenihan has played every game there thus far (aside from his role centering the first unit powerplay).
- These two teams played a hard-working, very even-keeled contest for 66 minutes and change last night. You can expect more of the same this evening, and likely tomorrow as well, as each and every team in the Mainland Division seems quite evenly matched this season.
- Having allowed the Chiefs to spoil their home-opener last night, the Eagles are eager to do the same this evening, as tonight's game is being billed as Chilliwack's first home game of the year. How that can be possible when you host the Bauer BCHL Showcase and are the only team to have played both games last weekend in the main rink is beyond me, but there you have it.
- Finally, let's talk the broadcast. I'm sure not too many Surrey fans were tuned in to listen to the home-opener, as most were in the building taking it in for themselves, but what an absolute pleasure it was to have John Cullen join me in the booth, providing colour and analysis throughout the night. As a teacher in the Surrey school district, and a teacher who has been actively involved in the Earl Marriott Hockey Academy to boot, he has close knowledge of at least half of this year's Eagles line-up, both as academic students and players on the ice. What a valuable fountain of knowledge that is for me throughout the year, as it's one thing to research these players, and something else altogether to have actually been there to watch them develop as players over the years. We had a good many laughs as well, and while I know his stand-up and curling schedules will preclude him from joining me for every home date through the season, I couldn't be more thrilled to have him on-board when he is available.
- And speaking of the broadcast, we've made the move over to MixLR from Ustream and are quite happy to have done so. It makes my job a lot easier in the grand scheme, and for you the listener and fans of the team, frees you up to be able to listen to the games whenever you like. Can't tune in live? No problem. MixLR keeps a record of all our live broadcasts, and makes them available on demand after the fact. If you care to listen to last night's home-opener, it is available here: http://mixlr.com/surreyeagles/showreel/surrey-eagles-1-2-chilliwack-chiefs-2ot/