The Burnaby Express dropped a pair of crucial games in a home and home series with the Surrey Eagles.
Friday in Surrey, the Eagles got off to a fast start by jumping out to a 4-0 lead on their first 4 shots before the game was 8 minutes old on a pair of goals by Mike Henderson and singles by Mike Krgovich and Adam Hartley.
Richie Virtanen was on the hook for all 4 goals but couldn't be faulted on any of them. One timers, a deflection off his Mike Leidl and in, a partial breakaway. That would spell the end to Virtanen's night as he was pulled in place of Mike Chan.
Surrey did most of their damage on the powerplay as three of the goals came on their first three powerplays.
Spencer Bennent scored early in the second period to make the score 5-0.
Thomas Hardy spoiled Tommy Tartaglione's bid for a 3rd straight shutout vs. the Express when he scored his second goal in as many games at 4:21 of the third period. It was the first goal Tartaglione allowed against the Express in 8 plus periods of hockey. The goal came just 16 seconds shy of the equilvalant of 3 straight shutouts vs. the Express going back to Surrey's 6-1 win over Burnaby on October 5th when Max Grassi scored at 4:37 of the third period.
Mike Krgovich added his second of the game on the power play to round out the scoring. Surrey finished the night 4 for 6 on the powerplay. The Express were 0 for 7.
Final score Eagles 6 Express 1.
Saturday the scene shifted to the Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
Max Grassi opened the scoring midway through the first period when he scored his 4th shorthanded goal of the season. That goal pulled him into a 5 way tie for the league lead in shorthanded goals with, Quesnel's Trevor Hertz, Penticton's Curtis Mckenzie, Merritt's Paul Forster and Victoria's Myles Macrae.
The lead didn't last long as Brett Corcoran one timed a pass from Brennan Strang to even the score just 21 seconds later.
Corcoran scored his second of the game while the Eagles were shorthanded, that was followed by Mike Henderson scoring on a 2 on 1 break and he showed great hands as he kept the puck and deked to the backhand to beat Mike Chan and open up a 3-1 Surrey lead. The goal extended Henderson's point streak to 11 games.
Dylon Herold got the Express back within one scoring on a scramble before the period was done.
Max Grassi tied the game 3 minutes into the third when he scored his second of the night. Grassi was instrumental in giving the Express the lead as his wrist shot was tipped home by Brent Vandenberg to give the Express a 4-3 lead. The goal was Vandenberg's first with the Express and his first goal in 16 games overall.
The game slipped through the hands of the Express in the final 8 minutes of the game when Cole Gelley and Brennan Strang scored powerplay goals to give the Eagles a 5-4 lead.
The Express had one last shot to tie the game as they had a power play for the final 90 seconds with Nolan Toigo in the penalty box for holding. But the Express couldn't take advantage and Surrey held on for the 5-4 win and a sweep of the home and home series.
The loss was the 12th in the last 13 outings for the Express.
Surrey has now opened up a 11 point lead on the Express in the Mainland division. The Express have just 24 games left in the season.
The Express chances of now making the playoffs seem pretty slim. Surrey right now is in pace for 65 points this season. The Express would have to pick up 41 of their remaining 48 points available to surpass the Eagles for a playoff spot if they maintain their current pace. In other words, go on a .854 clip the rest of the way.
Next weekend the Express will host the Mainland division leading Powell River Kings Friday then travel to Surrey Sunday afternoon.