With the Best-of-seven series tied at two games apiece, the Eagles and the Kodiaks were back in action at the Encana Arena in Camrose for a pivotal game five. Despite trailing 3-0 after the first period, the Eagles battled back and made it a one-goal game on two different occasions.  Unfortunately their comeback fell just short, losing 4-3. With the loss, the Eagles find themselves with their backs against the wall, trailing three games to two.  

“I think our group showed their character. Being down 3-0, pushing  back and then I thought we played real well for the remaining 40 minutes, I thought we were the better team. They got a couple of power play opportunities and  capitalized on them. They went 3-for-3, we went  1-for-2 on the power play and that”™s the difference in the game. It”™s a tough way to lose a Hockey game. I”™m real proud of the way the guys played and this series is definitely not over” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne.

It was Rock Truman who got the Kodiaks in front only 2:29 into the opening frame. At 10:34, Ryan Sullivan scored a power play goal and just before the end of the period with 18 seconds left, Logan Lorenz made it 3-0 Kodiaks with a power play goal.

In the second period, 20-year old Defenceman Cale Lyons got the Eagles on the board with a shot from the point, his second of the playoffs. Kyle Young and Riley Dekowny assisted. Later on at 14:42, it was Dekowny on the power play with his third of the playoffs to cut the Kodiaks”™ lead to one. Drawing the assists were Lyons and Carter Myrol. But the Kodiaks regained their two-goal lead with another power play goal of their own as Ryan Sullivan threaded the needle at 17:23. The Eagles however didn”™t go down as Dylan Bidyk with blast from the point made it a one goal game once again with his third of the playoffs with just 20 seconds left in the middle frame. Vincent Scott and Lyons assisted.

In the third period, the Eagles put a lot of pressure in the Kodiaks zone with lots of puck possession, but unfortunately could not find the equalizer as the Kodiaks hang on for the 4-3 win.

Shots on goal were 26-24 in favour of Camrose. Andrei Proctor-Ramirez started the game between the pipes, but he was pulled after the 1st period. He made 7 saves on 10 shots, before ceding the net to Matthew Malin who made 15 saves on 16 shots.

When asking Coach Milne about his decision of making a goalie change after the first period, he answered saying: “Manny is obviously a big part of our Hockey club and the guys really like to play for him. When Manny comes out, I think there”™s a little guilt on the group. It also gives him a bit of a rest. I know Manny is such a warrior, he works so hard for us, so more opportunity there to get some rest and then be prepared going into Game 6. I thought Matt Malin was outstanding. When he went in, he made some real big saves. So for a kid to walk in a series like this in his first year in the AJHL and play well like he did is a great sign of good things to come”.

The series now moves back to the Canmore Recreation for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon. Puck drop is 2 pm. The Eagles will try to keep their season alive and force a decisive Game 7 in Camrose on Tuesday night. In the last series between the two teams in March 2020, the Eagles were in the same situation they are in after Game 5. The Eagles were able to win Game 6 at home 3-2, before falling in Game 7 in Camrose.

“I think first, we have to stay out of the penalty box” says Coach Milne. “They were 3-for-3 tonight on the power play. Their power play has had a lot of success. We got to stay out of the box and capitalize on those zone time chances”.

AROUND THE AJHL PLAYOFFS: Two more series closed out tonight. In Fort McMurray, the Oil Barons knocked off the Sherwood Park Crusaders 6-4 to win the series in five games. The Barons won four straight after dropping the series”™ opener and will now await their second round opponent. In Drayton Valley, the Thunder also closed out their series in Game 5 with a 5-2 win over the Lloydminster Bobcats. The other series in the North Division will see a Game 6 as the Bonnyville Pontiacs were able to stave off elimination with a 5-3 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines.

Tonight, the Calgary Canucks and the Drumheller Dragons will clash in the bad lands for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2. Game 6 for the three series remaining are all taking place on Sunday.