Eagles edge out Wolverines

Eagles edge out Wolverines

In a wild and wildly entertaining game Wednesday (Feb. 15), the Canmore Eagles needed a shootout to get past the Whitecourt Wolverines 2-1 at the Banff Fenlands Recreation Centre.

The game gave the 543 fans that packed into the Banff arena for the second of two Alberta Junior Hockey League regular-season games this season plenty of entertainment.

There were 81 shots, with 41 from Canmore. There was outstanding goaltending by the Eagles’ Andreai Proctor-Ramirez and the Wolverines’ Lochlan Gordon.

There was an 11-minute power play for Canmore – and it only took 10:35 of that man advantage situation to score a goal. Although, in the middle of the power play, the Eagles were playing shorthanded for 43 seconds after taking a pair of penalties.

There were also giveaways aplenty, odd-man rushes galore, a 3-on-3 overtime, and to end it a shootout where the winning goalie had to make only one save.

In regulation time, Whitecourt scored first. Kaiden Wiltsie gave the visitors a 1-0 lead 14:56 into the first period when he skated out of the corner to Proctor-Ramirez’s left and just blindly fired the puck at the goal. The puck appeared to deflect off an Eagles’ defender and ride up the right arm of the goaltender before sailing into the far, top corner of the goal.

Canmore got back on even terms when Ryan Nolan scored his first goal since Nov. 27 – that’s 23 games between goals – at 12:03 of the second period. His third goal of the season came on that extended power play when Whitecourt’s Matthew Sutter was assessed three minors and a fighting major. Logan Ziegler took the shot that led to the goal with the Eagles’ defenceman collecting the rebound and firing it into the open net for an easy score.

Canmore held the edge in shots on goal through two periods 32-21 with Gordon looking steady in goal for Whitecourt. The Wolverines (34-14-3-2, second in the North Division) turned up the heat in the third period and overtime outshooting their hosts 19-8 over the final 25 minutes helped by the Eagles taking five penalties that put them shorthanded – including two in overtime – but Proctor-Ramirez was at his acrobatic best to preserve the tie and force the shootout.

For Canmore, Kayden Rawji scored while middle shooter Owen Jones was foiled by Gordon. For Whitecourt, Cooper Smyl’s attempt was saved by Proctor-Ramirez, then Colby Browne, trying to imitate Matthew Tkachuk’s mouthguard look, had it slip out of his mouth as he crossed the blueline, then slip himself, and then had the puck slip away ending the scoring attempt. That was the setup for the winning goal from Ziegler, who had no problems skating in or firing a hard wrister that eluded the Whitecourt goaltender, on Canmore’s final shot.

Canmore (22-27-2-2) now has back-to-back shootout wins – the other a 5-4 victory on Sunday (Feb. 12) over the Sherwood Park Crusaders – and hold down sixth place in the South Division, now just two points behind the fifth-place Camrose Kodiaks (24-27-2-0), with both teams having seven games remaining.

Next up for the Eagles is the Blackfalds Bulldogs (32-18-1-2, second in the South) on Friday (Feb. 17) at the Canmore Recreation Centre.