At last, the streak of futility is over for the Surrey Knights.
After two years of losing, frustration and controversy, the Knights can finally flip the page.
The Knights took an improbable 89-game losing streak with them to MSA Arena in Abbotsford on Friday night. They were just coming off of a better effort in a 5-1 loss to Richmond after previously losing two games by a combined score of 19-2.
Still, head coach Spencer McHaffie was talking about keeping his team positive in a chat he had with the Now-Leader on Wednesday.
“Every day in the room we just talk about keeping it positive,” said McHaffie. “We know that negativity isn’t going to get us anywhere.”
Those positive reinforcements finally paid off on the ice.
In the first period at MSA Arena in Abbotsford, Carmine Sorace scored a power play goal to give the Knights a 1-0 lead. They escaped the period with the lead after being outshot 19-6.
After that, it was the Zakery Babin show.
The netminder turned away an onslaught of shots over the final 40 minutes. Takum Sakai’s empty-netter with 20 seconds to go in the game sealed the 2-0 win for the Knights.
— Christina Simpson (@ChrisS768) November 25, 2017
Babin was unsurprisingly named the game’s first star after his team was outshot 49-12 over 60 minutes. Over the last two periods, the shots were 30-6 in favour of Abbotsford.
This is the Knights first win after moving to Surrey before the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Their last win on Nov. 19th, 2015 happened when the team was still referred to as the Langley Knights.
Proud to be a Knight @SurreyKnights. The amount of resilience it takes just to lace it up in the face of constant defeat is a testament to the heart of the boys who play on that team.
— Jayden Gill (@jayden18gill) November 25, 2017
The Knights have experienced a world of hurt after an altercation featuring former head coach and current co-owner John Craighead. They had difficulties recruiting players after the incident and hired former Vancouver Canucks assistant general managers Laurence Gilman and Lorne Henning to help with hockey operations.
Even this year, their roster features 24 players, with 16 of them being rookies.
“It takes time for all of the rookies to gel together,” said McHaffie. “We have a lot of fresh faces in this room but they’ve been working hard to get better on the ice.”
The Knights will hope this is a sign of things to come. At least for a couple days however, they can put the futility behind them and enjoy a long-awaited victory.