PHOTO – Eagle captain Connor Wilson had a three-point night to lead Canmore to a 5-1 win over the visiting Calgary Canucks on Saturday night.
NEXT GAME – At Calgary Mustangs – Sunday, Jan. 11
NEXT HOME GAME – Lloydminster Bobcats at Canmore – Friday, Jan. 16
The Canmore Eagles recorded their first win of 2015 on Saturday night as they defeated the visiting Calgary Canucks 5-1 in Alberta Junior Hockey League action played before 418 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
It was the Eagle’s fifth straight victory over the Canucks this season and improved Canmore’s overall record to 19-21-1. The Eagles now have 39 points and sit in sixth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings, five points ahead of the seventh-place Canucks and five points back of the fifth-place Olds Grizzlys.
Eagle captain Connor Wilson led the way offensively scoring two goals (16 & 17) and adding an assist, while Ryley Risling (19), Simon Philp (12) and Kurt Hildebrand (9) rounded out the scoring. Forwards Kyle Pauls and Joe Serpico both chipped in with a pair of assists.
Canmore goaltender Ryan Ferguson looked sharp and picked up his 16th victory of the season stopping 28 of the 29 Canuck shots fired his way. The Eagles outshot the Canucks by a 38-29 margin.
“This game was gut-check time for us and the boys responded very well,” said Eagles’s Assistant Coach Jeremy Reich, whose team had dropped their first three games to open their 2015 portion of their schedule. “The Canucks have been playing some great hockey of late and are chasing us in the standings, so it was a big two points for us. Everyone came ready to play tonight and we didn’t have any passengers. Hopefully we can build on this and regain our confidence.”
Saturday also marked the final trading deadline date in the AJHL and all teams were required to declare their final 23-man rosters. Despite plenty of speculation, the Eagles did not make any major transactions but did send defenceman Kevin Wolf to the Yorkton Terriers of the SJHL for future considerations. Wolf, who was acquired from the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL in early October, had one goal and one assist in 22 games played as an Eagle.
“We were very active on a lot of fronts, but at the end of the day, we didn’t find the right deal to help our hockey club,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Despite our mediocre record to date, we believe in the quality of players in our dressing room and that we can be a very competitive hockey club down the stretch. It would have been easy to part with some of our veteran players to help rebuild for future years, but we didn’t do that. Now it will be up to our players in the dressing room to show us what they can do as a group.”
The Eagles have a gruelling week ahead of them as they will play in Calgary against the Mustangs tonight (Sunday), in Brooks on Wednesday Jan. 14 and then return home for a pair of weekend games against the Lloydminster Bobcats on Friday Jan. 16 and the Calgary Mustangs on Saturday Jan. 17.
NOTEBOOK: As expected, veteran defenceman Jakob Lavoie returned to the Eagles lineup last night after being out the lineup since late October with an ankle injury . . . .With his three-point night last night, Connor Wilson now has 44 points in 38 games and currently sits in 5th-place overall in the AJHL scoring parade. . . .With one power-play goal last night, the Eagles have now scored 29 power-play goals on 111 opportunities on home ice for a 26.13 percentage – tops in the AJHL.