The Surrey Eagles and Coquitlam Express both went to bed last night riding the high of hard-fought home victories. Dreams dancing through their heads of the goals scored, and those yet to be sent to the back of the net. But as they wake, alarms blaring this Saturday, November 18, 2023, they are ready to go to war once again. Coquitlam and Surrey, a tale as old as time, a song as old as rhyme, a rivalry unlike any other. Three times already these sides have met this season with the Eagles getting the better of the exchanges, but not without a fight from Coquitlam. Sept 23rd was a 4-1 affair but the last two, both going down to the wire and ending 4-2 off an empty netter from the Eagles. The Express know that if they want to get over the hump and keep building towards a great season, all roads lead through the Eagles.
Surrey has only lost once this season. The South Surrey Arena defenders are 16-1 on the 2023-2024 campaign and sit atop the BCHL as one of the early season favorites in the coastal conference. One of the key additions this season that has pushed Surrey to new heights is Caden Cranston. The Rochester product led the NCDC in points last season before coming to Surrey for this BCHL season and doing much of the same. His 28 points are tied with teammate Aaron Schwartz for the league lead and his 14 goals are the best in the BCHL. In 2 of the 3 games against Coquitlam this season he registered multi point nights. If the Express hope to come away with the win, they need to shut him and his linemates down. The Eagles have also gotten incredible value from their goaltenders this season. Sporting the leagues fewest goals against, Ajeet Gundarah and Jaiden Sharma have been a formidable tandem.
On the flipside, Coquitlam looked like a team possessed last night. They skated extremely well and their breakout was exceptional. In previous games against the Eagles they have had great success in attacking the Surrey defence with speed and beating them to the outside to generate opportunities and start offensive zone time. Expect to see last night’s Fortis BC Energy player Sam Frandina called upon once again to be a catalyst on the back end, moving the puck and causing havoc in enemy territory with his quick moves on the blueline. Both teams will be on the back end of the back-to-back this weekend so its going to be a test of endurance through and through. Hopefully we will see the same energized Express of last night that generated multiple 2-on-1’s throughout the game. It is game 2 of Parent’s Weekend for Coquitlam so expect to see Ethan Simcoe in net tonight as both goalies get the opportunity to play in front of their families. Simcoe is sporting a perfect 4-0 this season backing up Manji but this would certainly be the largest test he has faced so far in his BCHL career.
COQUITLAM / 8-7-1 / 47GF – 55GA / 210 PIMS
Goals – Jake Manfre and Joseph Odyniec (7)
Assists – Cole Melady (11)
Ethan Simcoe / 4W-0L / .909SV% 2.74GAA
SURREY / 16-1-0 / 71GF – 35GA / 163 PIMS
Goals – Caden Cranston (14)
Assists – Aaron Schwartz (18)
Ajeet Gundarah / 12W-1L / .936SV% 2.08GAA
Jaiden Sharma / 3W-0L / .933SV% 2.00GAA