After a frustrating game in Game 3 on Wednesday night, the Canmore Eagles were able to shake it off and battle back with a great game Thursday night in front of 525 fans at the Canmore Rec Centre as the Eagles edged the Camrose Kodiaks 5-4 to even the Best-of-7 series at 2 games apiece.
?I think we were confident that we played a pretty good game [Wednesday],? said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. ?It was frustrating for us for sure, but I thought we played a pretty good game. So for us, it was just sticking with the same game plan and letting things happen the way we planned them and I think we did that.?
It didn?t take the Eagles much time to get into the game, only 18 seconds into the contest, Zach Carlson found the twine after he received a cross-ice pass from Alex Young for his 1st goal of the playoffs. Camrose answered back at the 6:09 mark on a goal from Brett Wieschorster. The Eagles regained the lead at 11:09 on a goal from Captain Connor Lyons as he riffled a rocket of a shot that beat Kodiaks netminder Griffin Bowerman for his 4th of the Playoffs. Alex Young and Dylan Witzke assisted. Then at 13:55, the Eagles went up by 2 with Lane Paddison tieing in a shot from the point from Cameron Chin. It was a Power Play goal and his 1st of the Playoffs. Drae Gardiner also assisted on the goal. At 14:54, Camrose responded to get within one as Lynden Grandberg scored.
Early in the 2nd period, the Eagles regained their 2-goal cushion on Michael Spafford?s 1st goal of the playoffs. Ethan Schaeffer and Lane Paddison assisted. The Kodiaks fought back and were able to get the game tied before the end of the 2nd period on a Power Play goal from Damon Zimmer at 13:32 and a goal from Griffen Fraser at 18:06.
The Eagles were able to once again get back on top early in the 3rd period with 20-year-old Defenceman Jared Bowman scoring at 1:19 of the period, which stood as the game-winning goal. The Lyons brothers, Connor and Cale assisted.
?I think we have thought we were the better team for the entire series so far,? said Eagles 20-year-old Forward and Owen Reith, on how the team felt after Game 3. ?We didn?t really want to change much and kept going to the game with the same mindset and it actually paid off tonight.?
Between the pipes for the Eagles, it was 19-year-old netminder Kadin Kilpatrick who got the start for the 1st time in this series. He made 24 saves on 28 shots. Kilpatrick mentioned that he didn’t feel nervous before the game as last year he saw some playoff action in the SJHL with the Estevan Bruins when they were playing Humboldt Broncos in a hostile atmosphere in Humboldt.
?I thought although Chapman let in 6 yesterday, he let in three 5-on-3 goals,” said Coach Milne. “It wasn?t that he was bad, but we had a fresh goaltender (Kadin Kilpatrick) who was eager, excited, who wanted to get going and I thought Kadin was good tonight.?
The final shots on goal were 37-28 for the Eagles.
In this series, the Eagles have had a lot of their scoring coming from the big line of Lyons, Young and Carlson, but tonight Coach Milne was pleased to see the team get some secondary scoring from guys like Paddison, Spafford and Bowman.
Down to 3 possible games, the series moves to the Encana Arena in Camrose for Game 5 on Saturday at 7 pm. Game 6 will be back at the Canmore Rec Centre on Monday night. Puck drop is 7 pm. If a decisive Game 7 is needed, it will be played in Camrose on Wednesday at 7 pm.
?I think we will just try to bring the same energy and enthusiasm that we?ve been having all series,? said Owen Reith regarding Game 5 on Saturday night.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– The Eagles have outshot the Kodiaks in all 4 games and the total shots on goal for the series are 152-93.
– This series features 4 players who are currently in the top 5 in the AJHL Playoff scoring race. The Kodiaks have Cody Laskoky who is first with 9 points and Erik Miller is tied for fourth with 7 points. The Eagles have Connor Lyons and Alex Young who share the 2nd spot with 8 points each.
– Around the AJHL, the Drumheller Dragons have taken a stranglehold on their series vs the Olds Grizzlys as Thursday night, they won Game 4 by a score of 4-1 and they lead the series 3 games to 1. The Dragons will get a chance to punch their ticket for Round 2 on Saturday night in Drumheller.
-In the North, the Grande Prairie Storm who finished the regular season on a 15-game losing streak are giving the highly favoured Spruce Grove Saints a scare winning Game 4, 2-1 to even the series at 2 games apiece. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons who were facing elimination were able to keep their season alive with a 4-2 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines who now lead the series 3 games to 1. And finally, the Bonnyville Pontiacs who dropped the first 2 games of the series on home ice, were able to return the favour to the Drayton Valley Thunder, by winning Games 3 & 4 on the road. Tonight they won 1-0 to even the series at 2-2. Game 5 for all of the series in North are also on Saturday night.