Sunday, December 30, 2012


After some tough games for Cole Huggins recently, he bounced back with avengence Sunday with a performance that reminded BCHL followers why he was considered one of the top goaltenders in the league earlier this season.

Huggins turned aside 60 of 62 shots sent his way, but it wasn't enough as the Eagles blanked the Express 2-0.

Michael Santaguida posted his 2nd consecutive shutout for the Eagles turning aside all 32 Express shots sent his way.

For both of these two teams, their starts post Christmas have gone in completely opposite directions.

The Express have dropped all three games. Losing a pair to Langley. Then to Surrey Sunday. For the Eagles, their weekend began with back to back wins over Mainland division leading Chilliwack followed by the shutout of the Express.

It was an evenly played first period between the two teams.

The opening minutes of the game for the Express was notable with their physical start to the game making sure no check was left unfinished. The Express physicality was having an impact on the Eagles as a number of players were retaliating with slashes and chops following the Express hits.

One of the hits proved costly for the Surrey Eagles as Malcom McKinney's hit on recently acquired Troy Paterson knocked the 20 year old veteran out of the game.

Cole Huggins looked confident with a number of the saves he made on the afternoon in the first period. He was aggressive and challenging shooters in his crease. His best save came off Brett Mulcahy on a two on nothing shorthanded breakaway.

Santaguida showed his aggressive style in the first period as well with a number of stops.

Surrey outshot the Express 16-13 in the first period.

After a fairly even first period, the game drastically tilted in the Eagles favour in the second.

They ramped their game up and began to dominate the puck possession and play in the Express end of the ice. That would result in a significant increase in shots sent Huggins way.

The Eagles opened the scoring on a lucky break. Craig Wyzomirski's shot from the left point hit the stick of Express rookie Luca Leone and over the shoulder of Huggins.

Surrey kept up the relentless pressure on the Express in the second period. And their size and strength advantage started to take over as well.

And that was a prominent factor on the second goal for Surrey.

Nicolas Pierog went to the boards along with two Express players and came up with the puck and muscled it into the slot and got a backhand away and at the side of the net Mason Blacklock was able to tip it past Cole Huggins.

Surrey's second period dominance was reflected in a 27-4 advantage in shots.

Were it not for Huggins, the score could have been worse for the Express. He was as stellar and confident as i've seen him all season.

Huggins turned aside all 19 shots from the Eagles in the third period.

The Express picked up their shot total in the final frame, but couldn't find a way to beat Santaguida. Their best chance to score came when John Siemer nearly scored a goal of the year as he beat an Eagle defender then with one hand on his stick nearly slid it past Santaguida. Instead the shot went just past the post.

It was a tough loss for the Express to take considering how it spoiled such a fantastic performance from Huggins.

In the final two periods, the Eagles outshot the Express 46-19.

After the three straight wins for the Eagles which include two vs. Chilliwack, they now trail the Chiefs by one point for first place in the Mainland division.

The Express remain one point up on Langley in the division. But now the Rivermen have two games in hand. 

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