Wednesday, October 17 – There's a reason why the Brooks Bandits are ranked as the #1 Junior A hockey club in all of Canada – they are big, fast and deadly on the power-play.
The Canmore Eagles certainly found that out last night as they absorbed an 8-3 loss before 384 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre in an Alberta Junior Hockey League game.
Including the end of last year’s regular season, the Bandits have now won 23 straight regular season games, and are a perfect 12-0 this season. With the loss, Canmore’s record drops to 5-4-3.
Specialty team play was the big difference in last night’s game as the Bandits scored three power-play goals on six power-play opportunities, and destroyed any hopes of an Eagle’s upset with two short-handed goals as well.
Taking penalties against Brooks is a recipe for disaster as the Bandits have now scored 28 power-play goals on just 76 opportunities this year.
Forward Dakota Mason had a four point night (1 goal and 3 assists) for the Bandits and moved into top spot in the AJHL scoring parade with 20 points in just 12 games. Cam Maclise chipped in with a three-point night, as did Brandon Tkachuk and Taylor Makin. The Bandits now have five players in the league’s top eight in scoring.
The Eagles, who fought hard to have a 3-3 tie early in the second period, received goals from Riley Point (3rd), Steven Phee (7) and Luke Simpson (5). Eagle netminder Cam Barnes took the loss, stopping 26 out of 34 Bandit shots, and saw his record drop to 2-2-1.
“We had our eyes opened tonight, our special teams were not very good,” said Eagle's Head Coach and GM Andrew Milne, following the game. “Anytime you give up two short-handed goals, you're in tough. The best power-play in the country took advantage of us. However, we played a good game five-on-five and we should feel good about that part of the game. We skated with them for 35 minutes but you have to play 60 minutes of error free hockey against a team like that. But overall, there were still some positives to take from the game and we'll move forward and get ready for the next one.”
Canmore will now head out on the road for a three game stint this weekend with games in Bonnyville (9-2-3) on Friday, Oct. 19, Lloydminster (3-9-2) on Saturday, Oct. 20 and Drumheller (3-9-1) on Sunday afternoon October 21.
The Eagles next home action will be on Saturday, October 27 at 7 pm when the Sherwood Park Crusaders pay a visit to the Canmore Recreation Centre. The Eagles will then have a rare Sunday afternoon home game as they will entertain the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Sunday October 28. Game time is 2:30 pm.