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Rivalry Renewed: Bulldogs & Eagles Clash in Coastal Finals

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs and the Surrey Eagles kick off Game 1 of the Coastal Conference Finals presented by Pacific Chevrolet tonight in Surrey.  Puck drop is scheduled for 7:15 pm.

The series is a rematch of last season’s classic 7 game victory by the Bulldogs in the 2nd Round of the playoffs.  It was a series that featured many sub-plots including the Bulldogs falling behind 2-0, losing starting goalie Hobie Hedquist in Game 4, rallying from down 2-0, and 3-2 to steal Game 7 on the road in a nail-biter.  The win propelled the Bulldogs onto their first ever Championship series.

The series features an astonishing 18 players, 9 on each side who were a part of last year’s series.  Expectations are high that this should be a barn-burner of a series.

The Eagles are the favourites, it’s hard to argue that.  With a league-leading five major award winners in the fold and the best record in the BCHL during the regular season, the deck is stacked against the Bulldogs.  Cam Keith was BCHL coach of the year, Ajeet Gundarah was the top goalie, Caden Cranston won the league MVP and the BCHL’s top scorer award, Ryder Evers won the Most sportsmanlike player.  The Eagles appear poised to get their revenge from last year, or do they?

Thankfully for the Bulldogs, league awards don’t mean much when you get into the meat-grinder of the playoffs.  This time of year is often described as attrition warfare. The goal is simple, wear your opponent down over time until they quit.  The Bulldogs feel that style will serve them well.

Surrey was pushed by Victoria to six games while the Bulldogs are coming off that 4 game sweep of the Chiefs.

The Bulldogs aren’t expecting any line-up changes from the Chilliwack series.  Callum Tung will earn his 12th straight start in goal.  The starter for the Eagles is less certain as Surrey has used both Gundarah and Jaiden Sharma.  It says a lot about your depth to have Gundarah on the bench for 6 of your 11 playoff games.

Hayden Stavroff sits a top the goal scoring derby in the playoffs with 8.  Surrey has a pair of players hot on his heels with Berger & Wagnon posting 7 each. T

The Bulldogs have been fairly committed to 4 lines during their first two rounds, while the Eagles tend to lean on their top-guns for more minutes.

Add it all up, and this should be a tremendous showcase of some of the BCHL’s top talent. Game 2 goes tomorrow night, while the scene will shift back to the Dawg Pound for Game 3 & 4 next Wednesday and Thursday at 7pm.  Tickets can be purchased by CLICKING HERE