PHOTO: Ryley Risling had a pair of goals against the Brooks Bandits on Saturday night, but the Eagles still lost 5-3 to the first-place Bandits. (Photo courtesy of Pam Doyle)
Friday, Feb. 5 – Canmore at Calgary Canucks
Saturday, Feb. 6 – Canmore at Olds Grizzlys
The month of January will certainly be one to forget for both the Canmore Eagle hockey players and for the team’s coaching staff alike.
The Eagles wrapped up the January portion of their Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season schedule with a 5-3 loss to the first-place Brooks Bandits on Saturday night in front of 436 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre. The Bandits, now 38-7-2, defeated the Eagles 4-0 on Friday night in Brooks to sweep the home and home series.
The pair of weekend losses put an end to a miserable month for the Eagles as they went 2-11 during January and were outscored by a margin of 67-35 in the process.
The Eagles, who once owned a promising record of 15-7-2, suddenly find themselves in fifth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with a record of 20-24-4, one point behind the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons.
Ryley Risling had a pair of goals (4th & 5th) and added an assist for the Eagles in Saturday night’s loss to Brooks, while Brett Radford also enjoyed a three-point night scoring one goal (17th) and adding two assists. The Bandits outshot the Eagles by a 34-33 margin and limited Canmore to just one powerplay goal on 10 powerplay opportunities.
“Tonight we played a good game,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne of Saturday’s game. “We had our chances but our confidence level just isn't high enough right now to allow us to gut that one out. Brooks has great depth throughout their lineup and they exposed ours tonight and that's the bottom line.”
With the month of January now officially behind them, the Eagles have 12 games remaining on their regular schedule before the playoffs begin in early March. The club will play six home games and six on the road, begining next weekend with a pair of road games to face the Calgary Canucks on Friday Feb. 5 and up to Olds for a Grizzly encounter on Saturday, Feb. 6th.
“We need to get healthy and start afresh for the month of February,” said Milne, whose club has been missing the services of 20-year-old power forward Lane Olson and 19-year-old defenceman Brayden Biccum for the majority of January’s games. “We need to forget about January in a hurry, move forward, and focus 100% of our energies on next weekend. I still believe we have the horses in our dressing room to get the job done, we just need to all pull in the same direction.”
The Eagles next home game is Saturday, February 13 when they will host the Calgary Canucks. Game time is 7 PM.