Back-to-back losses on a northern road swing have the Canmore Eagles falling in the Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division standings.
The Eagles gave up three third-period goals to the Wolverines to lose 5-4 before 605 fans in Whitecourt on Saturday night. That was after the visitors rallied from a 2-0 first-period deficit to take a 3-2 lead into the final period.
“We were good tonight, we did a lot of good things. I thought it was one of our better games,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles GM and head coach.
The two teams traded early third-period goals with Whitecourt taking the lead with two goals 70 seconds apart with the first coming with just 3:25 to play.
Eagles captain Coy Prevost scored twice (goals 10 and 11 on the season) for Canmore with singles from Jake Ashton (9) and Trevor Van Steinburg (2).
Whitecourt goals came from Ryley Smith (8), Ben Evanish (10) – both in the first period — Marc-Antoine Benoit (3), Tyr Thompson (8) and Jaedon Leslie (7) getting the game winner at 17:45 of the third period.
Whitecourt outshot Canmore 39-25 with Thomas Davis (8-8, 3.76 GAA, .897 save-pct.) in goal for the Eagles and Xavier Potvin (11-6, 2.16 GAA, .920 save-pct.) in goal for the Wolverines.
Canmore was 1-for-4 on the power play with Whitecourt 0-for-2.
Canmore was without Colton Young, assessed a two-game suspension for checking from behind penalty assessed in Friday’s 6-2 loss to the Grande Prairie Storm. The head coach said it was a big miss against Whitecourt
“That was massive tonight … we are not deep enough where we can afford to lose our best player,” said Milne, who was also quick to praise the play of those that were in the lineup.
“They came at us with everything they had and were able to compete with them … and played better than them for the majority of the game,” said Milne. “They got a few lucky breaks [on the first and fourth goals] and that was the difference.”
Milne singled out the line of Nolan Steer, Justin Giacomin and Ty Budai as exceptionally strong even though they didn’t pop up on the scoresheet as well as the two-goal performance from Prevost.
“Coy was awesome tonight. What a leader. He just took control of the game and was a beast,” said Milne.
With the two road losses the Eagles are now 9-9-1 on the season and drop from fourth to sixth place in the South as both Calgary teams moved two points ahead with wins on Saturday night: The Canucks defeated the Olds Grizzlys 3-1 and the Mustangs shutout the Camrose Kodiaks 4-9.
Whitecourt is second in the North Division at 14-4-3 and are on an eight-game winning streak.
Canmore winds up its weekend road trip with a Sunday afternoon games against the Thunder in Drayton Valley.
“(Sunday) is a huge for us and if we play like (Saturday) I like our chances,” said Milne. “We worked hard and did a lot of good things. We put ourselves in position to be successful.”
Drayton Valley is 2-18-0 and in last place overall in the AHL.