Camrose AB – Saturday, Sept 29th
As the old cliché says, special teams usually dictate the outcome of a hockey game. The Canmore Eagles are certainly proving that it is true. On Friday afternoon in their 1st of two games at the annual AJHL Showcase Weekend in Camrose, the Canmore Eagles defeated the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 5-3 with three powerplay goals and a perfect penalty kill. With the win, their 3rd straight, the Eagles early season record improves to 4-1, setting them in 3rd in the AJHL South division. In terms of special teams, the Eagles are currently ranked 1st in the AJHL on the PP (36.7 %) and also 1st on the Penalty Kill (90.6%).
When asked about the team’s success on special teams, Eagles Assistant Coach/Assistant General Manager Evan McFeeters responded, “The guys on the penalty kill are working hard. They’re sticking to the system the coaching staff has put in place this year and a couple of guys who have really bought into the role of being lead penalty killers in the league are taking a lot of pride of doing so and the goalies have been good as well.”
As for the power play, McFeeters praised the players’ work ethic, because the goals scored with the man advantage are hard-working goals.
Friday's game was played in front of hundreds of NCAA scouts and NHL scouts. The game was even more motivating for two Eagles players, 19-year-old forwards Connor Lyons and Owen Reith. Lyons and Reith were both acquired from the Oil Barons in a transaction at last season’s trade deadline in exchange for Eagles Captain and fan favourite Coy Prevost. Lyons and Reith were facing their former team for the 1st time since and they didn’t fail to impress their former teammates. Lyons had two goals (3 & 4) and an assist, while Reith scored his 3rd of the campaign.
The other goals scorers for the Eagles were Alex Young (5) and his older brother Colton (4). Colton also had 3 assists and he now has 12 points on the season, tied for 2nd in the AJHL scoring race.
The shots on goal were 33-31 in favour of the Oil Barons. Thomas Davis got the start between the pipes and he made 30 saves. He also remains perfect on the season with a 3-0 record.
The Eagles wrap up their AJHL Showcase Weekend on Saturday as they take on the Lloydminster Bobcats (2-4) who lost their 1st of the weekend, 5-0 against the Calgary Mustangs. Puck drop is at 12:00 pm.
When asked about what to expect for Saturday's game, McFeeters said, “Lloydminster is a heavy, hard-working team and they have a bit of skill.”
But when approaching every game this season, McFeeters said, “It’s not about what the other team will do, but what our team can do to have success”.
EAGLES’ FUN FACTS:
-With a 4-1 record, the Eagles are off to their best start since the 2012-13 season.
– It was the Eagles’ first win vs the Fort McMurray Oil Barons since December 18 2015. The Eagles had dropped their previous 4 meetings vs Fort McMurray.
– After only 5 games, the Eagles have already scored 30 goals this season for an average of 6 goals a game, which the best in the AJHL.
– Connor Lyons and Owen Reith are the only Eagles players who have played with the Oil Barons before, as Defenceman Mark Drohan who is a 5-year veteran played with the Barons from 2014 to 2016. It was his first 2 seasons in the AJHL.