The Canmore Eagles found out the rewards of a more energetic start on Tuesday night.
Taking on the Camrose Kodiaks, who are directly in front of them in the Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division standings the visiting Eagles raced out to a 2-0 lead and skated to a comfortable 4-1 win at Encana Arena.
“I thought we played really well. We started the game really well and never looked back,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles GM and head coach. “We controlled the game, played our game, and when (Camrose) got power plays we were able to step up — I thought our penalty kill did a great job.”
Canmore goals came from Bryce Platt (his 10th), Kyle Pauls (4th), Brett Stewart (6th) and Adam Tisdale (13th).
Camrose's goal came from Joseph Tambasco (5th).
Matt Forchuk picked up three assists to improve his league-leading points total to 49 (15 goals and 34 assists). He is now three better than linemate Ferguson, who picked up one assist and is at 46 points (18 goals and 28 assists). Since missing two games due to a slight injury, the 20-year-old co-captain has counted 11 points over three games (two goals and nine assists).
Platt, on the power play, and Pauls scored in the first period giving the Eagles a two-goal lead before the game was 12 minutes old.
Tambasco would answer for the Kodiaks in the period.
Stewart had the lone second-period goal. It came on the power play to give the Eagles a 3-1 lead.
In the third period, Canmore goaltender Ryan Bontorin stopped Mackenzie Bauer on a penalty shot attempt after Adamu Tanaka closed his hand on the puck in the Eagles' goal crease.
Tisdale would shortly after make it a 4-1 lead for the Canmore. Tanaka would draw an assist on the play.
Braden Saretsky, coming off a four-goal game in a 7-2 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder on Saturday, was back on a line with Forchuk and Ferguson to start this game. Saretsky drew in for Colby Livingstone, who was out writing an exam.
While Saretsky won't turn on the red light this night — the 20-year-old did pick up one assist — he did see plenty of red. Saretsky featured in a bout with Kodiak Josh Zablocki at the end of the second period. The Camrose player was tagged for instigating the fight keeping the Eagle in the game. However, the Canmore winger would land his own major penalty with just over five minutes to go in the third period, tagged for a major penalty for slashing which will certainly draw a review by the league.
Canmore outshot Camrose 37-36, with the home team firing 20 of their shots in the final period. In goal for the Kodiaks was Patrick Gora.
Canmore is on a three-game winning streak and improved to 17-11-4 on the season to move with three points of Camrose, now 19-13-3. The Eagles also have three games in hand on the Kodiaks.
“We talked about this week [which also features a pair of home games] and how important it is to us. We have a chance to separate ourselves, or try to, from the pack, so it was an important two points tonight,” said Milne.
Canmore returns home for games on Friday versus the Okotoks Oilers and Saturday against the Lloydminster Bobcats, both games are 7 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
EAGLES NEST: Canmore finished 2-for-7 on the power play while Camrose was shutout in five chances, including a full five-minutes power play. … Also scratched from the Eagles' lineup Tuesday night was Evan Katelnikoff (knee, precautionary). … Following the weekend home games, Canmore will finish off the 2016 portion of their schedule with a game against the Dragons in Drumheller on Tuesday, Dec. 20. … The 2017 portion of the schedule opens with a doubleheader against the Kodiaks at the Canmore Rec Centre, Sunday, Jan. 1 at 6 p.m. and Monday, Jan. 2 at 2:30 p.m.
For more from Russ at the Crag and Canyon: http://www.thecragandcanyon.ca/2016/12/13/aggressive-eagles-take-down-kodiaks