Two teams with a penchant for scoring goals ended up playing a chess match on Thursday night.
The Canmore Eagles, the highest scoring team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League at 4.8 goals per game, showed they can play a tough, defensive game as they pulled out a 3-1 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines before 374 fans on Thursday night at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Coy Prevost in the first period, Braden Saretsky in the second period and Logan Ferguson in the third period scored for the Eagles. They matched the Wolverines every move and then checkmated them with an empty netter by Ferguson with 45 seconds to play.
Justin Young, with an early third period, shorthanded goal gave the visiting Wolverines some hope in this game.
“I liked our game tonight,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles GM and head coach. “We were a little undisciplined at some points but we were good against the No. 1 power play in the league.”
Whitecourt was 0-for-6 on the power play but had come in operating at a league-leading 36.84 per cent. Canmore was 0-for-5 with the man advantage and had potted a league-leading 15 man-advantage goals as neither team counted a power-play goal.
Eagles’ leading scorer Matt Forchuk was not on the scoresheet but that should be corrected as he was the set up man for Ferguson’s empty net goal. The assist will run Forchuk’s point-scoring streak to 11 games and give him a league-leading 24 points (7G-17A) for the season once it is corrected.
Eagles’ defenceman Jonas Gordon, who was a scratch the last two games due to sickness, picked up two assists.
“I was sick last week and couldn’t make it. [Today], I felt good. I thought the team played good, stuck to the system and got the W,” said Gordon.
“This game was a good confidence booster for all of us.”
Whitecourt were held to just 14 shots through the first two periods but rebounded with 13 more in their final period push. Ryan Bontorin was excellent in goal for Canmore, turning aside 26 shots and running his consecutive minutes played streak to 661 in having played in every Eagles’ game this season.
At the other end of the ice, Wolverines’ Liam Mccluskey made 22 saves.
Canmore improved its record to 6-4-1 but remains fifth in the South Division.
Whitecourt is now 6-4-2 and fourth in the North Division.
Canmore’s week continues with a road trip to Brooks to take on the Bandits (6-2-2, third in the South) on Friday (7 p.m., Centennial Regional Arena).
“We know what Brooks is all about, they are high offence and a good structured team that play well together. We have to be somewhat disciplined but have to understand we control our fate by how we play not how they play.”
EAGLES NEST: Canmore added a goalie to its roster on Thursday bringing in Thomas Davis, who played midget in St. Albert last season. He was with the Spruce Grove Saints to start the season. … With Thomas signed, the Eagles released Cody Campbell, who did not play a minute during the regular season. … Kyle Pauls and Cole Noble were both scratches for Thursday’s game after appearing in each of the last two games with rookie Mitch Zambon the other scratch. … The next Eagles’ home game is Tuesday versus the Camrose Kodiaks (7 p.m., Canmore Rec Centre).