PHOTO: Canmore wrapped up their AJHL regular season with a big 8-3 victory over the Olds Grizlys on Friday night. (File photo – Julie Wilson)
The Canmore Eagles ended their 2014-15 Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season on a high note Friday night as they downed the visiting Olds Grizzlys 8-3 before a season-high crowd of 556 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
With the victory, Canmore finishes the regular season with a record of 27-31-2 and their 56 points moves them one point ahead of Olds in the AJHL Southern Division standings for fifth-place. Olds, with 55 points, will conclude their regular season tonight with a home game against the Drayton Valley Thunder and need a win to re-claim the fifth-place position in the standings. The Grizzlys are dealing with numerous injuries and have just one win in their last 10 games.
Ryley Risling (25 & 26) and Brett Radford (6 & 7) each had a pair of goals for the Eagles, while Matt Forchuk (13), Joe Serpico (18) and Connor Wilson (25) chipped in with singles. Eagle goaltender Ryan Ferguson stopped 24 of the 27 Grizzly shots to end the season with a record of 22-28-2. Canmore outshot Olds by a 39-27 margin on the night.
If Canmore can hang on to fifth-place, they would face the Drumheller Dragons in the opening round of the playoffs. Should Olds win tonight and reclaim fifth-place, the Eagles would fall back to sixth-place and would face the Okotoks Oilers. The opening round of the AJHL playoffs is a best-of-five affair and the Eagles will play the opening two games on the road. In regular season play this year, Canmore went 3-3 against Drumheller, and were 1-5 versus Okotoks.
“We had a very tough schedule in February, but that’s over now and we’re entering the playoffs in a positive state of mind after a couple of big wins this week,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club also got a big 3-2 OT win in Calgary on Wednesday. “We are entering the playoffs relatively healthy and everyone is buying into our systems and contributing. We have a solid group of scorers on the team and now we are starting to get some offensive production from our depth players and guys like Brett Radford, Matt Forchuk, Kyle Pauls, Reid Wilson, and Logan Ferguson are upping their game at just the right time. It doesn’t really matter who we play in the first-round – we will be ready to play our best hockey of the season.”
NOTEBOOK: In last night’s exciting final to the Can-Bow Motors Las Vegas Shoot-out competition, Will Revie of Cranbrook, BC and Mike Gordon of Canmore had to go to a special tie breaker to determine the winner with Revie eventually coming out on top to claim the top prize of a “Trip for Two to Las Vegas. . . As a great good-will gesture, Can-Bow Motors also awarded the same prize to runner-up Mike Gordon. Adding to the irony of the shoot-out final was the fact that Mike Gordon has billeted Jordon Revie (Will’s son) for the past two seasons. . . With his two goals last night, second-year forward Ryley Risling claimed the Eagle’s goal scoring title with 26 goals, one more than Captain Connor Wilson . . .Wilson, who ended the season with a four-point night against Olds, claimed the overall team scoring title with 67 points in just 55 games played – good enough for fourth-place overall in the AJHL scoring parade. . . . The Eagles will hold their annual Awards Dinner on Saturday night at 6 PM at the Cornerstone Theatre. Tickets are just $50 and a few tickets can still be purchased at the door. The evening will feature a huge silent auction, memorable speeches and numerous awards.