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Coastal Wrap: Eagles strike opening blow with W over Chiefs

If it seems like the Langley Chiefs and Surrey Eagles face off against one another every season, it's because they do. The Lower Mainland rivals have a habit of making early acquaintances, and on Friday night clashed in the first of back-to-back games with the Eagles coming out on the better end of a 3-2 score.

Surrey was staked to a 3-0 lead on a first period tally by Grant Toulmin and power-play goals by Andrew Wallace and Kyle Hunchberger in the middle frame. Chiefs sniper Colton Beck closed the gap before the second intermission with a man-advantage effort of his own, but the Chiefs couldn't even the score despite a third period marker from Tim Daly.

Eagles netminder Vinny Lessard earned first star honours with a 29-save performance,while shutting down the visitors at even strength.

The Chiefs' shot at revenge will come on Saturday night when they open the brand-new Langley Events Centre with an opening weekend re-match. Game time is 7:00 PM.

Burnaby 4 @ Cowichan Valley 3

The new-look Burnaby Express took little time to make a statement about their prospects for the coming season, downing the Capitals with a solid road effort in Cowichan Valley.

After Shawn Mueller put the Caps ahead just 4:39 into the game, Burnaby took control with four consecutive goals. Captain Dylan Herold began the charge with a power-play effort before Rich Manley marked his return to the BCHL with back-to-back goals. Jon Puskar scored the eventual winner midway through the second period.

Power play goals from John Chayka and Shayne Taker pulled the Capitals to within one early in the final frame, but the Express shut the door despite being outshot by a 14-2 margin in the final 20 minutes.

Cowichan Valley will have a second chance to break the ice at home on Saturday when the Nanaimo Clippers visit, while the Express return home with two points from a brief Island road trip.

Alberni Valley 1 @ Powell River 9

The Powell River Kings may have lost a bundle of top-end offensive threats following last season's Coastal Conference championship campaign, but it seems their replacements are no slouches in the scoring department.

Kings' forward Andree Pettitt opened his goal-scoring account late in the first period before adding another three tallies in a second period where his team put a six-pack of goals on the board. Jordan Grant also had a fine night, notching a hat-trick of his own. Matt Garbowsky scored the remaining two goals for Powell River.

Alberni Valley found late consolation from a Mark MacMillan tally at the 17:17-mark of the third period, but had little else to cheer about in a game where they were oushot by a 44-24 margin.

The Kings will hope that the goals continue to arrive in bunches on Saturday night when the Victoria Grizzlies — Powell River's Coastal Conference Finals opponent last March — pays a visit to the Sunshine Coast. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, will have a week to regroup prior to next Friday's home-ice clash with Victoria.

Victoria 5 @ Nanaimo 4

Cody Bremner re-paid his old team for an offseason trade with an opening night hat trick, but the Victoria Grizzlies ultimately had the last laugh following a closely-fought come-from-behind victory.

In a back and forth battle dictated by special teams, the Grizzlies took charge in the first period with a pair of power-play markers from Spencer Copp and Gregory Simpson. Bremner replied with his first for the Clippers on a second period man-advantage, setting up a wild six-goal third period in which Nanaimo captured — and ultimately conceded — the lead.

Bremner and Mike Domsodi drew the home team ahead with a pair of goals within 2:49 of intermission, and the former Grizzlies' hat-trick goal put his team in the lead again at the 5:25 mark. But a tying goal by Joel Lowry was puncuated by Dylan Nowakowski's winner with just 3:38 to play to give Victoria the win.

The loss spoiled an evening in which Nanaimo poured 49 shots on their opponents. The Clippers will venture for their first win of the season on Saturday night at Cowichan Valley while the Grizzlies will face off against a Kings squad that is coming off a big win of their own in Powell River tomorrow.