PHOTO: Luke Simpson had two goals and an assist to propel the Eagles to a 4-2 victory over the Okotoks Oilers on Saturday night. (Julie Wilson photo)
NEXT HOME GAME
Monday, Feb. 17 – Calgary Canucks – 2:30 PM
Led by Luke Simpson’s three-point night, the Canmore Eagles snapped their four game losing streak on Saturday night as they defeated the visiting Okotoks Oilers 4-2 in an Alberta Junior Hockey League game played before 486 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The victory improves the Eagle’s overall regular season record to 30-22-3 and moves them back into fourth-place in the Southern Division standings with 63 points, just one point ahead of the fifth-place Camrose Kodiaks. Canmore has five games left on their schedule, while the Kodiaks have six games remaining.
The two goal performance by Simpson gives him 19 goals on the season and snaps an uncharacteristic 11-game scoreless streak for the 20-year-old Canmore sniper. Joe Serpico, with just one goal in his previous nine games, scored his 15th of the year, and Nikolas Kosman scored his fifth-goal of the season to snap his 28-game goal-less drought.
Rookie goaltender Ryan Ferguson also posted a solid game in the Canmore net stopping 30 of 32 Oiler shots to improve his record to an impressive 22-12-2. Canmore outshot the Oilers 34-32.
“Our leadership group really stepped up their game and came back with a strong response following Friday night’s loss in Okotoks,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, referring to Friday’s 5-1 road loss. “The guys who made mistakes on Friday night all had big bounce-back efforts on Saturday night. Everyone contributed. Despite our recent losses, I think we’ve played fairly well as a team but we haven’t been rewarded for our efforts. It was good to see guys like Simpson, Serpico, and Kosman get back on the score sheet and Ferguson had a strong game in the net. Hopefully we can build on this win and finish the season strongly.”
The Eagles next home game is Monday afternoon (Feb. 17) against the last-place Calgary Canucks (14-38-3). Despite their record, the Canucks have beaten the Eagles twice this season winning 5-1 on Sept. 27 at the AJHL Showcase Weekend played in Spruce Grove, and 4-3 on Jan. 7 in Calgary. Game time on Monday is 2:30 pm at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
“We play three of our final four games on the road, so this game is extremely important to us and we can’t afford to look past the Canucks,” said Milne. “They’ve enjoyed some success against us this year, so we better prepared for another tough game from them. They are playing for pride.”
NOTEBOOK: There will be a free “Skate with the Eagles” promotion immediately following Monday afternoon's game, so please bring your skates with you and enjoy some quality ice-time with the team. . . The Eagles are now 21-5-1 on home ice, the best home record in the AJHL’s Southern Division. . . The Eagles won their season series against the Oilers 4-2 – the first time the Eagles have won the series against Okotoks since 2005-06 . . . The 30 victories by the Eagles this season is their best win total since the 2003-04 season. . .Eagle d-man Trey Phillips, who is nominated for the AJHL’s MVP and Best Defenceman Awards, continued his impressive play with two assists last night. Phillips now has 58 points in 53 games and sits in 9th-place in the AJHL scoring parade. . . Congratulations to fans Rick Anderson and Peter Philp who both qualified for the finals of the Can-Bow Motors “Las Vegas Weekend for Two” Shoot-out finals by firing 11 pucks into the empty net during Saturday’s night semi-final shootout. The second semi-final will take place during Monday afternoon’s home game, with the championship shoot-out set for the Eagle's final home game of the season on Feb. 28.