EAGLES CAN”™T SCORE AND FALL SHORT AGAINST DRAGONS
With only 5 games to play in the 2021-22 regular season, the Eagles were hosting the 2nd place team in the South Division, the Drumheller Dragons for the 6th and final meeting between the two teams this season. The Dragons took the first 3 games, while the Eagles were victorious in the last 2 games. Last night, despite getting the advantage on shots 30-27 and having many good scoring opportunities, the Eagles had tough time finding the back of the net like it has been for most of the season and they fell to the Dragons by a score of 3-1.
“We didn”™t score on our chances. We needed to execute better on the power play. We had lots of opportunities to score tonight. We had lots of special teams opportunities, we had good goaltending, we had chances. We should have won” says Eagles Head and General Manager Andrew Milne.
The Eagles have done well on special teams lately after struggling for most of the season. Last night, the penalty kill was perfect killing off all 5 Dragons”™ man advantage, but for the power play, it was a different story as the Eagles went 0 for 9.
The Eagles took an early lead only 1:15 into the contest as 20 year-old Forward Ethan Schaeffer scored his team leading 23rd goal of the season. Isaac Suppin and Nathan Ellis picked up the assists. But at 3:53, the Dragons answered back to tie the game on a goal from True Crowe.
In the 2nd frame, the Eagles got plenty of good chances, but it was the Dragons getting the lone goal of the period from Kody Willick at 5:23.
In the 3rd period, the visitors added an insurance marker, courtesy of Alexey Trischuk.
Both goalies excelled, as Dragons”™ Eric Ward stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced, while Eagles goalie Matthew Malin made 24 saves on 27 shots.
The Eagles”™ next action is on Monday as they travel to Brooks to take on the league leading and no.1 ranked team in Canada, the Bandits (48-5-2) for an afternoon contest (4 pm). The Eagles will then return home to play their final home game of the regular season on Wednesday night vs the Olds Grizzlys (7-41-6) at 7 pm.
SOUTH DIVISION PLAYOFF RACE UPDATE:
The playoff picture in the South Division is starting to get a bit clearer as the AJHL enters its second last weekend of the regular season, which will conclude on Sunday, February 27.
The Brooks Bandits with their league”™s best 48-5-2 record for 98 points have clinched already secured a 1st Round bye. The Drumheller Dragons who are sitting in 2nd place with a 32-16-8 record for 72 points only need a win or a loss by the 3rd place Camrose Kodiaks in order to clinch 2nd. Speaking of the Kodiaks (30-22-3, 63 points), they are the team the Eagles are most likely going to face in the opening round of the playoffs, which is scheduled to start on Friday, March 4th. The Eagles with their 19-28-9 record for 47 points are sitting in 6th place, 4 points back of the 5th place Blackfalds Bulldogs (25-28-1, 51 pts) and 8 points back of the 4th place Okotoks Oilers (26-25-3, 55 pts). The Eagles can no longer mathematically catch up the Oilers as they have only 4 games left to play and the Oilers would win the tie breaker should the two teams finish tied in points. Which means the Eagles will be opening the playoffs on the road, it”™s just the opponent that still to be determined. The Eagles can still catch up Blackfalds and face the Okotoks Oilers in the opening round, but for that to happen, they will needs lots of help as the Bulldogs have 6 games left to play, which is 2 more than the Eagles. And finally, for the 7th and final playoff spot in the South, the Calgary Canucks (12-37-6, 30 pts) are holding it and are 10 points up on the last place Olds Grizzlys (7-41-6, 20 pts). The two teams battle each other in a home-and-home series this weekend and the Canucks can seal the Grizzlys”™ fate by only winning 1 of the 2 games.