PHOTO: Canmore defenceman Braiden Doucette (#3) had a goal and two assists Friday night as the Eagles defeated the Fort McMurray Oil Barons 4-2 at the Canmore Recreation Centre. – photo courtesy of Pam Doyle
UPCOMING HOME GAMES:
Saturday, Dec. 19 – Lloydminster Bobcats at Canmore – 7 PM
Sunday, Jan. 3 – Okotoks Oilers at Canmore – 2 PM
The Canmore Eagles relied on a familiar script on Friday night as they downed the visiting Fort McMurray Oil Barons 4-2 in an Alberta Junior Hockey League game played before 420 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
As has been the case throughout the 2015-16 season, the Eagles earned the victory by sticking with the familiar game plan of:
1) using their team speed to generate offensive opportunities.
2) forcing the opposition into penalty trouble.
3) converting on their very productive powerplay to seal the deal.
The Eagles did all of the above scoring two powerplay goals on five opportunties to earn the victory and improve their overall record 18-12-4. The Oil Barons, who came to Canmore riding a mini two-game winning streak, fell to 6-25-6.
Powerplay specialists Matt Forchuck, Logan Ferguson, and Braiden Doucette each had a goal and two assists to lead the way for Canmore, while Brett Radford had the other Eagle goal.
Eagle netminder Ryan Gilchrist stopped 33 of 35 Oil Baron shots to improve his record to 9-4-2. Canmore outshot the Oil Barons 45-35 on the night.
“We started slow but picked it up as the game progressed,”said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club came into the game after a five-day layoff. “I give the Oil Barons a lot of credit. They played hard right to the end. We made our opportunities with speed and work ethic. Gilly was solid in net when we needed him. “
Canmore will wrap up the 2015 portion of their AJHL schedule on Saturday night (Dec. 19) with a home game against the Northern Division Lloydminster Bobcats.
The Bobcats are 25-7-2 on the season and are gearing up to host the National Junior A Hockey Championship RBC Cup tournament in May. In their only meeting this year, the Bobcats shut down the Eagles 5-0 in Lloydminster on October 17th.
“Saturday’s game will be a big test for our hockey club and the boys are looking forward to it,” said Milne, whose club has picked up six out of possible eight points during the team’s last four games. “It promises to be another very physical game and we better be ready for another battle.”
NOTEBOOK: The Eagles are now tied with the Okotoks Oilers for third-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with 40 points. Canmore has played two less games than the Oilers. . . With his three-point night on Friday, Canmore’s Matt Forchuk is now in second-place in the AJHL scoring parade with 48 points, just one point behind the leader Erik Pedersen of Whitecourt.