Eagles beat Saints again
The Canmore Eagles were unable to capitalize on last weekend’s successive victories over the Camrose Kodiaks, posting just one win in three Alberta Junior Hockey League games over the course of the ensuing week.
Canmore travelled for three games, beginning in Brooks on Wednesday (Nov. 15) losing 7-1 to the league-leading Bandits, then defeated the mid-table Spruce Grove Saints 3-1 on Friday (Nov. 17), and finished up the week with a 6-4 loss to the second-place Sherwood Park Crusaders.
The results leave Canmore (9-14-1-1) in 13th place with 20 points, the same number of points as the Camrose Kodiaks (8-14-0-4), who hold down the final playoff spot. Immediately ahead of the Eagles are the Drayton Valley Thunder (10-13-1-0) in 12th place with 21 points.
Brooks at 23-3-0-0 is first overall, with league bests of 132 goals scored and 45 goals against.
The Eagles have played 17 of their opening 25 games away from the Canmore Recreation Centre, although one of those games – played at the Showcase at the end of September in Calgary – is registered as a home game. The Eagles are 5-10-0-1 in road games and 4-4-1-0 in home games – but better than .500 if you take away the Showcase loss.
The biggest takeaways of the week came off the ice for the Eagles following an event-filled game in Brooks.
Cohen Daoust was given a gross misconduct after an exchange with Brooks player Nicholas DeGraves, who was given a 10-minute misconduct. The 17-year-old Eagles rookie is out with an indefinite suspension following the alleged on-ice incident, which is currently under a Hockey Alberta review.
Kayden Rawji was handed a five-game suspension for instigating what was deemed a staged fight. Head Coach Andrew Milne, even though he was absent from this game, was handed a two-game suspension for Rawji’s instigator penalty ruling him out for the two weekend contests.
Following up the game in Brooks, recently acquired goaltender Matthew Kieper, who had to endure the Bandits’ onslaught, left the team indefinitely after his Western Hockey League playing rights were traded from the Kamloops Blazers to the Swift Current Broncos, who recalled the 19-year-old goaltender to the WHL to plug an injury-created opening at the position. The Winnipeg native has played four games with Canmore, posting a 1-3-0-0 record, 5.00 goals-against average and an .876 save percentage.
The Eagles then lost leading scorer and captain Brody Tallman early in the second period of Friday’s game to a concussion when he was charged down by Spruce Grove’s Ryan Johnstone. The Saints player was given a charging major for the open ice hit and game misconduct but not suspended. The Eagles would score the tying goal on the ensuing five-minute power play.
Without Tallman and fellow defenceman Carter Rimstad – who has now missed three games with a knee injury – for Saturday’s game, Canmore reached out to the Northern Alberta Xtreme Academy to bolster its defence, bringing up 15-year-old Tafari Chingwaru for the game against Sherwood Park on Saturday. The Edmonton native has 15 points (4 goals and 11 assists) in 15 U17 games in the Canadian School Sports Hockey League.
Eagles 1 at Bandits 7
Brooks had it go all their way at the Centennial Regional Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 15). Two goals in each of the first two periods was followed up by three in the final period en route to the 7-1 victory, in the first of four meetings between the two teams this season.
Parker Lalonde scored twice and had two assists, while Mirko Buttazzoni scored once and had three assists. Also registering goals for the home side were Davide Pattella, Ty Mason, Caelan Fitzpatrick and Nathan Free.
Carter Coutu’s first goal of the season ended the shutout bid of Brendan Holahan with 13 seconds remaining in the third period. The Eagles rookie standing off the right-wing post put his stick on a pass from twin brother Zach Coutu, firing from the left-wing boards, directing the puck into the Bandits’ goal.
The game featured 148 minutes in penalties, with more than 100 minutes in the final period with the two Eagles – Daoust and Rawji – subsequently suspended and by happenstance Milne.
Brooks outshot Canmore 47-23.
On the power play, Canmore went 1-for-9 and Brooks was 2-for-7.
Eagles 3 at Saints 1
It was a much tamer affair in Spruce Grove on Friday (Nov. 17) with the Eagles overcoming a first-period goal by the Saints to rally for a 3-1 victory. It is the second victory in as many games for Canmore over Spruce Grove this season.
Owen Jones scored two power-play goals and Matthew Malin was near perfect in goal stopping 32 shots in his third start and win in eight days since returning from a concussion that kept him sidelined for three weeks.
Teo Pisani gave the home team a 1-0 lead with the only goal of the opening frame.
Canmore would take the lead on two second-period goals. Ethan Look scored his second goal of the season, coming on the power play the rookie forward rammed the puck into the open side of the net off a left-to-right pass across the top of the crease by Rhett Dekowny at 5:21. The first of Jones’s two goals came at 16:39 with Look driving down the right wing passing the puck back to a late arriving Jones, whose long wrist shot beat Saints’ goaltender Ryan De Kok between the pads.
Jones would then add an insurance marker, his sixth goal of the season, at 11 minutes of the third period. Skating from left to right above the face-off circles with the puck, the Canmore native then wired the puck high over the Saints keeper far side to help secure the Eagles’ third win in four games.
Spruce Grove outshot Canmore 33-23.
On the power play, Canmore was 2-for-5 and Spruce Grove was 0-for-4.
Eagles 4 at Crusaders 6
Canmore played the league’s second-best team even for 55 minutes of this game only to have the win slip away in the final minutes.
Logan Ziegler scored two first-period goals for Canmore to become the second Eagles’ player to reach double digits in goals, with 10 for the season tying him with Tallman. Ziegler’s first goal came just 14 seconds into the contest. The Eagles won the opening face-off and chased the puck into the Crusaders’ zone with Look’s backhand pass from below the goal line finding Ziegler in the slot and his quick-fire release beat Crusaders netminder Erick Roest. Ziegler’s second goal at 16:28 would tie the game at 2-2 as he swept up a loose puck in the defensive zone, beat a Crusaders’ defender down the right win and flipped the puck over Roest.
The Eagles would take the lead on two occasions in the second period. Brody Mortensen’s fourth goal of the season gave his team a 3-2 lead 5:10 into the period. During a 4-on-4 situation, the defenceman made a rush up ice then stayed deep in the offensive zone with some tenacious forechecking leading to a turnover and while falling to the ice swept the puck past the far side past Roest.
The Crusaders would come back to tie the game at 3-3 but Canmore took the lead again at 11:07 when Haruki Morikawa scored his second goal of the season. Coming late off the bench, the Canmore native skated onto a clearing pass from Nolan Kazeil and had a free run at the goal beating the netminder with a low shot stick side.
The two teams would finish the period tied at 4-4 as the Crusaders once again answered the Eagles’ goal.
In the third, Logan Hauer would score his second of the game at 15:16 to give Sherwood Park the lead. The Crusaders’ Ryder Ringor would add an empty net goal in the final minute. Also scoring for the home side were Diego Johnson, Zac Maxwell and Connor Gengle.
Canmore outshot Sherwood Park 31-30 with Malin having his three-game winning streak snapped.
On the power play, Canmore was 0-for-4 while Sherwood Park was 2-for-4.
Canmore heads to Olds on Tuesday, Nov. 21 to take on the Grizzlys. It is the first meeting of the season between the two teams.
The Eagles then return home for their first extended homestand of the season, five games starting Friday, Nov. 24 when the Crusaders stop in at the Canmore Recreation Centre. Game time is 7 p.m. The Eagles then host the Grizzlies on Sunday, Nov. 26, with a 2 p.m. start time.