The Calgary Canucks put a real crimp on the Canmore Eagle’s aspirations to start the upcoming playoffs at home as the last-place Canucks struck for three unanswered third period goals to upset the Eagles 5-2 in Alberta Junior Hockey League action on Monday afternoon at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
With the loss, the Eagles fall to fifth-place in the AJHL’s Southern Division standings with a record of 30-23-3 and 63 points. They now trail the fourth-place Camrose Kodiaks (27-18-10) in the battle to secure home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs. The Eagles have just four games left on their regular season schedule, while the Kodiaks have five games remaining.
The Eagles outshot the Canucks by a 38-33 margin and had numerous quality scoring opportunities early in the game, but simply couldn’t put the puck behind Canuck goaltender Colin Cooper.
Luke Simpson (20th) and Brett Radford (4th) had the Eagle goals while goaltender Cam Barnes took the loss and saw his record drop to 8-11-1.
“That is a very tough loss to absorb,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club has now lost five of their past six games. “For whatever reason, we haven’t played very well against the Canucks. We had about 10 excellent scoring opportunities and should have put the game away early, but we didn’t score, we became frustrated, and then they came back and scored on their opportunities. There are no excuses. We need to play better, smarter hockey going forward.”
The Eagles will play three of their last four regular season games on the road with stops in Drumheller (Feb. 21), Brooks (Feb. 22) and Calgary Mustangs (Feb. 25) before they wrap up their season with a home game against the Brooks Bandits on Friday, Feb. 28.