Midweek Matchup: Eagles vs. Chiefs

Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications

Tonight – Surrey Eagles (14-12-2-1) at Chilliwack Chiefs (13-13-2-2)

7 p.m. at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack.

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Previous Meetings

Chilliwack won the first meeting between the two teams 4-3 on the road on Nov. 3. Chiefs forward Will Calverley scored the game-winning goal in overtime. John Wesley had two goals for the Eagles and was named first star of the game in the loss.

Surrey evened the series with a 4-3 home win on Nov. 12. The teams traded goals throughout the game and Eagles forward Jordan Robert scored the eventual game winner midway through the third period. Surrey goaltender Nic Tallarico stopped 30 of 33 shots and was named the game’s first star.

In the most recent matchup on Nov. 17 in Surrey, the Eagles prevailed 3-1 on the strength of a two-goal performance from Matthew Campese and another strong performance in net, this time by Daniel Davidson who stopped 30 of 31 shots.

Who’s Hot

Chilliwack forward Tommy Lee is currently on a seven-game point streak. He has five goals and six assists over that span. Lee also leads his team with 12 goals on the year, good enough for a tie for 14th in the league. Will Calverley is tied for 11th in league scoring with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 29 games. Chilliwack’s Bryan Allbee is tied for first in goal-scoring among BCHL defencemen with seven and he is also tied for fourth in points with 22. According to head coach Jason Tatarnic, Lee, Calverley and Allbee may not play tonight due to injury. Chiefs goalie Daniel Chenard is tied for first in the BCHL with two shutouts on the season.

Surrey’s Ty Westgard is on a five-game point streak. He has two goals and four assists in those games. Westgard is also fourth in league scoring with 39 points (seven goals, 32 assists) in 29 games. His teammate John Wesley leads the BCHL in goals with 22. His 35 points are also good for eighth in the league.

What’s at Stake

The two teams are separated by one point in the standings with Surrey having a game in hand. The Eagles sit in third place in the Mainland Division with 31 points and the Chiefs are in fourth with 30. If Surrey wins they will move into a tie with the Prince George Spruce Kings for second place in the division. If Chilliwack wins they will leapfrog Surrey for third place in the division and will be one point behind Prince George for second.

Coaches Comments

Chilliwack Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic on facing the Eagles tonight:

“We’re battling some sickness and some injuries…Right now our focus is trying to put a lineup together with some healthy bodies.

“We’re playing at home, which is nice. We’ve played them three times in their rink…We know they’ve got that big line there, they score a lot of their goals for them, so we’ve got to be aware of them when they’re on the ice for sure. You’re not going to completely stop them but we want to minimize the damage that they can do.”

Surrey Eagles coach Brandon West on facing the Chiefs tonight:

“They’re a very offensive team with a good back end. They’re tough to play against. We’ve had good games with them so far and would expect the same here tonight.

“With not being able to have last change, we’re going to have to be real good in our own end. They’re a four-line, deep team and they’re tough to play against. They’ve got a little bit of everything, a little bit of skill, a little bit of grit, a good mix of everything in their four forward lines. Obviously on the back end they’ve got some size and they’re tough to play against and they’re good in net. We’re going to have to be on our toes. It’s always tough to play Chilliwack but obviously it’s going to be a tight division game tonight.”

West on facing a team four times in one month:

“There’s been a little bit of time between our last game (against Chilliwack) and I think we’ve both gone up and down here during that stretch. We’re probably both excited that we’re playing each other because we know it’s been a tight series so far this season. This is our first time going into their building. Obviously they’re going to have home-ice advantage tonight and we’re going to have to go in there and play a tight-checking road game.”