PHOTO: Eagle Captain and Canmore native Nils Moser had a goal in both games this weekend as the Eagles defeated the Camrose Kodiaks 4-3 on Friday night and 5-1 on Saturday night. (Julie Wilson photo)
The Canmore Eagles received goals from five different players last night as they downed the visiting Camrose Kodiaks 5-1 in Alberta Junior Hockey League action played before 507 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Canmore also defeated the Kodiaks on Friday night as they stormed back with four unanswered third-period goals to claim a 4-3 victory. It marked the first time the Eagles have swept the Kodiaks in a two-game weekend series since 2005-06 and provides the Eagles with some breathing space as they try to track down home-ice advantage in the upcoming AJHL playoffs.
With the two victories, Canmore now fashions a record of 29-18-3 and find themselves in a third-place tie in the AJHL Southern Division standing with the Okotoks Oilers with 61 points. The Kodiaks remain in fifth-place (23-18-9) with 55 points. The top four teams in the division will enjoy home ice advantage when the playoffs begin in early March. The Eagles, Oilers and Kodiaks all have 10 games remaining on their regular season schedule.
The Eagles, who churned over four lines on a consistent basis all weekend, received goals last night from Trey Phillips (20th), Simon Philp (18th), Jordan Revie (16th), Jeremy Margeson (11th) and Nils Moser (3rd). Rookie goaltender Ryan Ferguson stopped all but one of the 38 Kodiaks shots directed his way to improve his record to 21-9-2. Ferguson was also awarded the Eagle’s “Star of the Game” for the 11th time this season.
“We have excellent depth on the team this year, everyone is relatively healthy, and everyone is contributing in their own way,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club is an impressive 20-5-1 on home ice. “We are a fast skating hockey club and we are certainly using our speed to our advantage. Ferguson is obviously providing us with some solid goaltending, our defenceman are moving the puck out of our end effectively, and our forwards are playing with a lot of tenacity and applying relentless pressure on the forecheck. When we play our game, we can be one of the best teams in the AJ and the boys are starting to believe it too. We are gaining a lot of confidence as the season goes on.”
The Eagles will need to be at their best for the remainder of the regular season as seven of their last ten games will be played on the road starting next weekend when the team heads north for a very tough three-game weekend with stops in Bonnyville (Friday, Feb. 7), Lloydminster (Sat, Feb. 8) and Camrose (Sunday. Feb. 9).
“We look forward to the challenge,” said Milne. “All three rinks are very tough places to get a victory, but it will be a good playoff primer for us. If we hope to do some damage in the playoffs this year, you have to be able to win in the other guy’s rink at some point in time. Nothing has been settled in the standings yet, so if we want to secure home-ice advantage in the playoffs, we have to go out and earn it.”
The Eagles next home game is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 15 when the Okotoks Oilers pay a visit. The Eagles will also play a rare matinee game on the Monday of the Family Day Holiday weekend (Feb. 17) against the Calgary Canucks.
NOTEBOOK: With his 20th goal of the season, Eagle defenceman Trey Phillips extended his league leading point streak to 12 games . . . Connor Wilson also picked up an assist to extend his streak to 10 games. . . With two assists last night, Canmore native Luke Simpson has now surpassed the 100 point mark in his three season AJHL career. In his 144 AJHL games, Simpson has put up an impressive 58 goals and 43 assists . . . With the recent flooding at the Canmore Civic Centre, it looks like the Town of Canmore will be temporarily moving some of their offices over to the Eagles Nest Lounge area of the Canmore Recreation Centre. If this happens, the bar will not be in operation for the last three games of the season.