PHOTO: Lane Olson and the Canmore Eagles gave it good effort but fell 4-2 to the Brooks Bandits on Saturday night in Brooks. –(file photo courtesy of Pam Doyle)


For 55 minutes, the Canmore Eagles played even-steven with the Brooks Bandits, but fatigue finally ruled the day as they couldn’t hang on for the entire 60 minutes and fell 4-2 to the Bandits in Alberta Junior Hockey League action in Brooks on Saturday night.
The Eagles did however manage a weekend split with the Bandits as they claimed a 3-2 overtime victory in Canmore on Friday night.
Saturday night’s loss dropped the Eagles regular season record to 9-7-1, while the Bandits improved to 9-3-2.
Brett Radford, with his seventh of the season, and Nolan Kurylo (1st) scored the Eagle goals, while goaltender Ryan Gilchrist took the loss dropping his record to 5-3. Gilchrist, who hadn’t seen game action since a 5-4 OT win over the Calgary Mustangs on Oct. 14, was named the Eagles “Star of the Game” stopping 30 of 33 Bandit shots fired his way. Canmore was outshot 34-17 on the night, and 69-37 over the two-game weekend series.
Saturday’s game also marked the third consecutive game that an Eagle netminder was named as the Eagles “Star of the Game, as goaltender Ryan Bontorin claimed the honour in the Eagle’s previous two games.
Heading into the weekend, the Eagles knew that they would have to depend heavily on their goaltenders as three veteran defencemen (captain Jakob Lavoie, Griffin Mumby, and Braiden Doucette) were unable to suit up due to injuries or suspensions.
“We had to go with just five defencemen for the weekend including three rookies, so we knew it was going to be a big challenge and that our goalies were going to face a lot of shots,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Both goalies had excellent games for us and kept us in contention. Our veteran defencemen Brett Schimmel and Brayden Biccum also played their hearts out and did everything we could possibly ask of them, but two games in two nights against a big strong fast team like Brooks is asking a lot of them. Our three rookie defenceman (Adamu Tanaka, Jonas Gordon and Cole Noble) also stepped up and played well and this ice-time and experience will only help them in their overall development going forward.
“When we get healthy again and get our veterans back, I think we will be in pretty good shape going forward. We’ll take the two points from Friday’s game and move forward. We’re a scappy team with some strong leadership, and we're going to be tough to beat when everyone gets back in the lineup.”
The Eagles will now enjoy a good week of rest and practice with their next game scheduled for Friday night at home against the Olds Grizzlys (4-9-2).