EAGLES BATTLE BACK, BUT FALL SHORT IN THE SHOOTOUT
The Eagles made the long road trip to Fort McMurray, their longest of the season (about 830 km) to face the second place team in the North Division and the 10th ranked team in Canada, the Oil Barons.
The Eagles were certainly not outmatched at all by the higher ranked Barons as they were edged 3-2 in a shootout. The Eagles had the advantage on shots on goal by a count of 27-25.
The Eagles trailed for most of the game, but twice they were able to comeback and tie the game. The Barons took the lead in the first period on a goal from Ryder Matter at 7:59. The score remained 1-0 until the middle of the third period when Eagles rookie Forward Sam McPeak notted his first career AJHL goal. Maguire Smyth and Nathan Ellis picked up the assists. The Barons then took advantage of a power play to regain the lead at 14:59 off Ryder Matter”™s second goal of the game. The Eagles however showed their character and were rewarded as Mitchell Watson tied the game with 58 seconds left in regulation. It was his sixth goal of the season, which extends his current point streak to 7 games and he also found the back of the net for the fifth straight game. Emmanuel Hudson and Vinny Scott picked up assist. The five minute 3-on-3 overtime period solved nothing, so for the second time this season, the Eagles went to the Shootout to decide a winner. The shootout was short live as the Barons”™ first two shooters scored, while the Eagles two shooters were denied by Barons goalie Joshua Nadler. Nadler stopped 25 saves on 27 shots, while Eagles netminder Andrei Proctor-Ramirez made 23 saves on 25 shots.
“I think it was a great character game for the guys” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “We played hard, didn”™t deviate from the plan. We had chances to score as well. A shootout can very easily go either way. Today was a team game. I really liked the McPeak-Smyth-Ellis line. They were all over the ice and played hard”.
The Eagles next action is on Tuesday night as they host the North Division Sherwood Park Crusaders (17-23-1) at 7 pm to start off a four game home stand. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and the first time the two teams will clash since January 2020. In their home stand, the Eagles will also host the Camrose Kodiaks for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday night and the Drumheller Dragons will be in town to wrap up the home-stand on Tuesday, January 18. That game originally scheduled in Banff was moved to the Canmore Rec Centre.