Photo : Sei Spo Press
Back-back wins … finally!
It’s been a long time coming – almost a third of the season – but the Canmore Eagles have managed to put together back-to-back wins this Alberta Junior Hockey League season.
It’s not that Canmore has been a bad team. They have actually been quite good. The Eagles lost just twice in regulation over their last 12 games, but the team couldn’t get out of its “rut” – or to phrase it more politely its “consistency streak” – that featured rotating wins and losses for 12 games. Three of those losses came through the overtime or shootout process.
So, it was a big moment for the Eagles when they defeated the Lloydminster Bobcats 5-1 on Sunday (Oct. 30) afternoon before just over 400 exuberant fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre, which came after a 5-3 home-ice victory over the Calgary Canucks on Friday before a similar sized crowd.
Kayden Smith recorded a hat trick in Friday’s victory. He also had one assist for a four-point game. Other goals came from Kayden Rawji and Owen Jones. The Eagles led 3-1 after the first period, with the two teams trading goals in each of the final two periods. Eagles’ captain Vincent Scott finished with four assists.
For Calgary, Cale Sanders scored twice with Liam Davidson potting the other goal.
The shots were 32 apiece with Matthew Malin in goal for the Eagles and Colton Phillips-Watts in goal for the Canucks.
On the power play, Canmore was 3-for-6 while Calgary was 0-for-3. After Canmore tied the game at 1-1 it went on to score three man-advantage goals to take a 4-1 lead late in the second period.
On Sunday, Smith and Kyle Young each scored twice as Canmore led 2-0 and then 4-0 at the breaks. Netminder Andreai Proctor-Ramirez lost his shutout bid at 9:48 of the third period as Brock Kurlicki got Lloydminster on the scoreboard. Jones then completed the scoring for the Eagles. Scott finished with three assists.
The Bobcats came into this game giving up an average of three power-play chances per game but lost their composure against the Eagles passing on 10 power-play opportunities, with the Eagles converting on four of them. The Bobcats failed to convert on any of their five chances.
Scott’s seven assists over the two games moved the Eagles’ captain into sixth place in league scoring with 29 points (9 goals – 20 assists). The Calgary native, in his second campaign with Canmore after two seasons with the Sherwood Park Crusaders, has already smashed his yearly highs for goals, assists and points with plenty of the season remaining. The 20-year-old is on a seven-game scoring streak with five goals – including a hat trick against the Olds Grizzlys – and 13 assists.
Smith is on a four-game points streak with five goals and seven assists and has season totals of nine goals and 15 assists for 24 point also breaking his previous best totals in those departments.
Canmore is now 9-6-1-2 for 21 points and fifth in the South Division.
The Eagles went 7-2-1-2 in October, picking up 17 of a possible 24 points for a .708 points-collecting percentage. Maybe unfortunately, the Eagles are in a division that features three other teams also playing at scintillating paces in the division-leading Brooks Bandits, second place Camrose Kodiaks and third place Blackfalds Bulldogs, as each also played at a better than .700 clip during October and were much better than Canmore in September. The Eagles started the season with two wins — one in overtime and the other in a shootout — and four regulation-time losses.
Canmore is currently on a six-game homestand and are 5-2-1-1 at the Canmore Recreation Centre this season. Three more games remain on this home stand beginning with the North Division leading Spruce Grove Saints on Friday, Nov. 4, followed by Bonnyville Pontiacs on Saturday, Nov. 5 and Blackfalds on Thursday, Nov. 10. All games feature the usual 7 p.m. start times.