The Canmore Eagles were able to get back in the win column last night as they edged the visiting Olds Grizzlys 3-1 in front of 550 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre for the Eagles Australia Day Game. The Eagles snapped a 4-game winless streak and they improve their record to 24-18-5 for 53 points. However, the Eagles remain in 6th Place in the AJHL South division but are only 1 point back of the Camrose Kodiaks and the Calgary Mustangs for 4th Place, which is the last place to get home ice advantage in the 1st Round of the Playoffs.
The Eagles dominated on the shot clock as they outshot the Grizzlys by a count of 43-17. Grizzlys’ netminder Jay Thomson, a Canmore native was a big reason why the game was a close one.
“I thought Jay played really well,” said Eagles’ Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “We had good scoring chances and we carried the pace for most of the game.”
Thomson was only beat twice on the 42 shots he faced, as the Eagles’ 3rd goal was scored in an empty net.
It was the Grizzlys who scored first on a goal from Daine Milgate at 3:13 of the 1st period. The Eagles answered back on a Power Play Goal from Captain Colton Young (21st) at 7:26 of the 1st. Quinton Ong and Daly Hamilton assisted on the goal. The Eagles took the lead at 13:00 of the 2nd period, thanks to a Power Play goal from Quinton Ong (17th). Colton Young and Max Giangualano picked up the assists. Eagles’ rookie forward Michael Spafford (9th) sealed the victory with an empty net goal at 18:54 of the 3rd period, after the Grizzlys’ pulled their goalie for an extra attacker as they were trying to tie the game.
It was Logan Dyck who was between the pipes for the Eagles. The 19-year-old netminder was not nearly as busy as his counterpart, but he got the job done as he stopped 16 of the 17 shots he faced to improve his record to 13-11-2.
The Eagles have a challenging week ahead as their next game is on Tuesday night when they host the #1 ranked team in Canada, the Brooks Bandits (43-3). The Bandits are on a 19-game winning streak, as they haven’t lost a game in exactly 2 months. The Bandits will look to tie their franchise’s record for their longest winning streak, while the Eagles will try to end the Bandits’ streak. Puck drop is 7 pm. After that game, the Eagles will head up North for a 2-game road trip with games against the Bonnyville Pontiacs (34-10-3) who are in 1st Place in the North division on Friday night and the Lloydminster Bobcats (9-36-1) on Saturday night.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– Eagles’ 18-year-old Defenceman Carter Coles played in his 100th game as Eagle last night. Congratulations on the milestone Carter!
– Forward Finn Withey returned to the Eagles’ lineup last night after missing the last 5 games due to a suspension.
– Eagles’ 20-year-old Defenceman Jesse Sheen did not play in both games this weekend due to school.
– With 13 games left in the regular season, the Eagles will play 11 of those games against teams with a winning record. Coach Milne would like to see the team adopt that “Playoff mentality”.