Drumheller goaltender Curtis Skip stopped all 22 Eagle shots on Monday night to lead the Drumheller Dragons to a 4-0 shut-out victory over the Canmore Eagles in Game Three of their best-of-seven Alberta Junior Hockey League playoff series in Drumheller.
The Dragon victory, in front of 965 fans, gives the Dragons a 2-1 lead in the series with Game Four scheduled for Tuesday night (March 18) in Drumheller.
Canmore’s powerplay, which clicked for three goals in Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Dragons, was missing in action as they failed to score on 10 powerplay opportunities.
“We wanted our powerplay to get scoring chances and we had about a dozen of them tonight but we couldn’t get the puck to the net,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club was outshot 28-22. “As a team, we need to battle a lot harder for loose pucks.”
With Eagle all-star rookie goaltender Ryan Ferguson on the sidelines with an ankle injury after being rundown by the Dragon’s Alex Bechtold in Game Two, Cam Barnes got the start in the net for Canmore and could not be faulted for the loss.
“I thought Barnes played awesome tonight,” said Milne. “They beat him with some pretty good shots.”
The Dragons would strike early in Game Three as Chris Rauckman gave Drumheller a 1-0 lead just 1:12 into the game. In the second period, it was another early goal as Colton Vannucci would give the Dragons a 2-0 lead at the 4:18 mark, before Dallas Smith would add to the Dragons lead with an even strength goal at 10:36 to make it 3-0. Rauckman would complete the scoring with his second of the night at 18:12 of the second period.
Neither team would score in the third as the Dragons completely shutdown the Canmore Eagle’s offence.
NOTEBOOK: The AJHL did suspend Bechtold for two games for his hit that took Ferguson out of the lineup. Ferguson did not make the trip to Drumheller and is at home recovering from a severe ankle sprain. . . .The Eagles did call up affiliate goaltender Carter Seminuk from the Strathmore UFA Bison Midget AAA club to serve as the backup. . .Game Four and Game Five will be played in Drumheller on Tuesday, March 18 and Friday, March 21 respectively. If Game Six is necessary, it will be played in Canmore on Sunday, March 23 at 5 PM. Advanced ticket sales for Game Six, if necessary, will go on sale at the Canmore Recreation on Saturday, March 22 from 2 to 6 PM.