After dropping the first 2 games on the road of the South Division Semi-Final versus the high flying Brooks Bandits the Canmore Eagles went into tonight’s Game 3 at the Canmore Recreation Centre without the services of their best Defenceman Mark Drohan and Forward Tian Rask. That certainly did not stop the Eagles from showing what they are made of against the #1 ranked team in Canada, as the Eagles defeated the visiting Bandits 3-2 in Overtime to get back in the series.
It was Eagles Forward Quinton Ong who was the Overtime hero when he buried a rebound on the left far post at 10:46 of the 1st Overtime period to send the hometown crowd go in a frenzy!
“When you lose guys, you need other players to step up,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “I think tonight you saw our goaltender step up and take control of that game. He was determined to win and I think he was a guy that obviously kept us in the game and won us a Hockey game. And then you need guys to step up. Owen Reith was a big part of it tonight. With Tian out, Owen played some big minutes, we adjusted the lines a little bit, I thought he was outstanding. Look at the back end, with Dro (Mark Drohan) out, Jared Bowman played a phenomenal Hockey game tonight. I expected Hami (Daly Hamilton) to play that well, I expected Sheener (Jesse Sheen) to play that well and Schuwy (Brent Schuldhaus) and Jared Bowman was a big beast back there. He really did what he does well and complimented the rest of the defensive corp.”
Thomas Davis who has been nothing, but sensational since the start of the playoffs stopped 58 of the 60 shots he faced, including 22 in the opening frame for his 4th win in 8 starts in this year’s playoffs.
“I think the guys were feeling pretty good, we've been in the games up until the halfway point,” said Davis after the game. “I think if we just kept going with it, we had some confidence to keep playing at their pace. Credit to the guys, they really battled tonight. It was a big team effort, big goals from a lot of guys. It was the best team effort I’ve seen in a long time.”
The Eagles started out the game very strong with Quinton Ong scoring the first of his 2 goals of the game, a Power Play marker only 1:57 into the opening frame. Max Giangualano and Connor Lyons picked up the assists. The Bandits responded on a Power Play goal of their own from William Lemay to tie the game at 1-1 at 5:41, which stood as the score at the end of the 1st period.
In the 2nd period, the 2 teams traded goals with the Eagles once again striking early in the period when Max Giangualano got on a breakaway right after he got out of the penalty box as he undressed Bandits’ goalie Pierce Charlson for his 1st goal of the Playoffs only 32 seconds into the period. Quinton Ong assisted. The Bandits got back on even terms with 3 minutes left in the period, as Nathan Plessis scored a Power Play goal when he was on a breakaway.
The 3rd period saw both teams get some good chances to take the lead, but both goalies stood strong.
The Eagles took advantage of an undisciplined penalty by the Bandits in Overtime when Defenceman Andrew Lucas snow showered Eagles goalie Thomas Davis and was given a 2-minute penalty for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Connor Lyons and Daly Hamilton assisted on Ong’s winning goal. For Ong who leads the team in goals (6) and points (8) in the playoffs, it was his 2nd game-winning goal. In the decisive Game 5 of the Drumheller series, Ong scored 2 goals within 19 seconds to give the Eagles a 2-1 win and a series win.
Game 4 goes tomorrow night back at the Canmore Recreation Centre. Puck drop is 7 pm.
“The scary part for Brooks is that they got a goaltender who is in a zone right now,” said Coach Milne. “He’s in a zone and goaltending is what you need in the playoffs to be successful and obviously we have that. That’s scary when you’re a team facing that and we saw that 2 years ago when we played Olds that goaltenders can win a series, they can win games. We’re in a position right now that our goaltender is doing a great job and the offence is helping out when it needs to it. Obviously, guys like Quinton Ong are scoring timely goals and Tian Rask and guys like that are contributing. The recipe for success was evident tonight. We played well and I thought we were rewarded for our effort.”
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– If you count both the regular season and playoffs, the Bandits’ winning streak ended at 35 games tonight.
– Eagles Defenceman Mark Drohan’s injury status is day-to-day and Coach Milne says that he could be back at some point in the series.
– Eagles Forward Tian Rask served the 2nd and final game of his suspension and he will be back in the lineup tomorrow night for Game 4.