Every week on TSN Radio's BCHL This Week, host Jeff Paterson guides listeners through the week that was around the league, with several interviews and features highlighting the BCHL's players and coaches both past and present, whether they're a key contributor in the league right now or an alumni doing the league proud at higher levels. Starting this week, that show also includes a stand-out goal chosen to be the league's best of the week that was, and the inaugural BCHL Call of the Week honours were given to Joe Drapluk's tying effort from last Sunday's 4-3 Eagles overtime win.
The Eagles got back into the W column this past Sunday with a big 4-3 win over the visiting Coquitlam Express. It's the same opponent coming right back to the South Surrey Arena this evening, so before that game starts, how 'bout some stray thoughts on the last one?
- I mentioned last week that Ben Vikich might be the straw that stirs the drink on the Eagles at the moment, as the team seems to succeed when he finds the back of the net, and he tends to score when he's playing the physical game that was expected of him prior to the year. Vikich is still a player of the utmost importance on this club, and the offense that he and Chase McMurphy are creating together certainly a big reason why the Eagles 3-1-0-1 in their last five games, but...
- More and more it seems the team's heartbeat up front is Joe Drapluk. Drapluk's four goals on the year have come in critical moments to either win the game in overtime or give his team the emotional lift they might be lacking to keep hope alive in the third period. That was certainly the case on Sunday against Coquitlam, where the Eagles fell behind 3-2 in the third period and got a big goal from Drapluk to lock things at 3. It wasn't the forceful exclamation point that his goal in Langley last Wednesday might have been, but it was exactly what the team needed, from the guy who has given this club a much-needed shot in the arm several times already early in the year.
In case you missed it on the radio earlier this morning, I caught up with winger Ben Vikich to talk playing on the top line, how to tell the Drapluk twins apart, and what it's like having a former goalie as a Head Coach.
This interview aired as part of BCHL This Week, a weekly TSN Radio program airing Saturday mornings at 9:30AM during the BCHL season, with host Jeff Paterson.
Originally aired Saturday, October 18th, 2014.
Last night's action was my first trip back to the Langley Events Centre since working there all day every day for two weeks three years ago with Hockey Canada during the 2011 World Junior A Challenge. It was strange to be back in the space where my hockey broadcasting career began -- to walk the halls that held my very first sports interviews, to set up my gear in a press box above the seats I'd sat in and watched every game of that tournament. All of the tournament banners and international flags long since packed up and gone, I could still see it all how it was then, as though the space was haunted by the ghost of not-so-distant memories.
The Eagles were similarly haunted by a ghost of the past last night, by a goaltender they sent to Langley before this season began. Surrey's first victory of the season, some ten days earlier, came over Bo Didur and his new club, the Langley Rivermen. And despite a Herculean effort between the pipes by Eagles netminder Christian Short, it was Didur who laughed last on this night:
I didn't manage to get any stray opinions up in a timely manner on any of Surrey's three games previous to this one -- and if I don't get a chance to jot these things down quickly the games just fade together in my memory. But if you really want to know what I thought of them, just read the official summaries and you'll get the gist. I did write those too of course, and while they're not as opinion-heavy as the blog pieces, what is sports reporting if not opinion masquerading as fact?
Last Wednesday's win was terribly exciting, as Joe Drapluk netted the winner 12 seconds into OT after getting the crowd to lean in on the edge of their seats numerous times through the game -- hitting a post, and drawing a penalty on a partial break -- before finally potting one. But enough about happier games. This one did not leave much to smile about when it was done:
A little late getting some thoughts up on the last week of Eagles activity and games, but here we go. We'll begin with the flurry of activity that took place last Wednesday, as the team made a pair of moves to bolster their back-end.
If you haven't yet, you can get the full details on these moves from the official press release I typed up after the deals went down. But I'll say a little more about it here now that Chugg and Schartz have played a few games with the team (two out of three of which have been victories).
Notes from Sunday's game, the third in three nights for both teams involved, as the Spruce Kings made their first visit to the South Surrey Arena this season. Surrey really deserved to win this game, but in hockey, as in life, "deserves" ain't got nothin' to do with it:
- It hurts to lose a game like this much more than an 11-2 drubbing at the hands of Penticton. It was a heart-wrenching loss for a number of reason, not the least of which that the Eagles put in their best, most consistent 60 minute effort of the year to date, and received zero reward for doing so. When victory is out of reach for the bulk of play, it's easy to disconnect from it and start looking ahead to the next one before you're even out of a game like the season-opener. To give up the go-ahead goal (and essentially surrender the win) with only 16 seconds to go... Just rip my heart out and throw it in the garbage, why don't you. Long faces up and down the Surrey bench at the end of this one. They all know how close they were.
Some notes from Saturday night's contest, the rematch between Surrey and Chilliwack 24 hours in the making. As I noted in the previous post, the Eagles were pretty eager to play spoiler in the Chiefs home-opener, having allowed Chilliwack to put a damper on the festivities Surrey's first home game the night before. This game, however, would not be quite as close:
It's been a few days now since the 2014 BCHL season kicked off at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack, with all 16 teams getting two games in over the course of the weekend. There were a few things I wanted to get up on this blog before writing my first Eagles-centric post -- a farewell to Chetwynd and Dawson Creek, namely, reflecting on my time with Peace FM and the Dawson Creek Junior Canucks now that those two great years have come to a close. But between moving 1100 kilometres across the province, familiarizing myself with my new job, fighting technical difficulties as we gear up for this season's broadcasts, and preparing my parents' home for the market as they get set to put it on sale, it has been one thing after another since I moved home a few weeks ago -- and eventually, I'd really like it if one of those things was sleep. So those posts are coming (soon), but first: the BCHL Showcase.