Friday, Jan. 29 – Canmore at Brooks Bandits – 7 PM
Saturday, Jan. 30 – Brooks Bandits at Canmore – 7 PM
First the good news – the Canmore Eagles have qualified for the 2016 Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Despite losing two of their three games during last weekend’s lengthy Northern Division road trip, the Eagles came home knowing that they have at least clinched a playoff berth when the post-season begins in early March.
With a record of 20-22-4, the Eagles have 44 points and currently occupy fourth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings, just one point up on the fifth-place Drumheller Dragons who have 43 points. The last-place Calgary Mustangs (9-37-3) have just 21 points with just 11 games remaining on their schedule and can no longer catch the Eagles.
In Sunday’s final match of their three-game road trip, the Eagles fell 6-3 to the Sherwood Park Crusaders before 528 fans in Sherwood Park.
Braden Saretsky (14th), Matt Forchuk (23rd) and Braiden Doucette (12th) had the Eagle goals, while goaltender Ryan Gilchrist took the loss to see his record drop to 9-7-2. The shots on goal were 38-37 for the Eagles.
Canmore won the first game of the road trip winning 5-1 in Grande Prairie on Friday night, but lost Game Two in Whitecourt by an 8-3 margin.
“Tonight (Sunday) we battled hard but came up just a little short,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “We had chances to win the game but didn't capitalize. I have to give our group some credit though, they played hard today and finished strong .We showed some character in that locker room. We’re not happy with the result, but we do have some positives to build on.”
The immediate road ahead does not get any easier for the Eagles as they will face the South Division leading Brooks Bandits (35-7-2) in a home and home series next weekend. The Bandits have won 17 of their last 18 games and have outscored their opposition by a 217-104 margin during the course of their season.
NOTEBOOK: Eagle forward Matt Forchuk is currently tied for third-place in AJHL scoring parade with 59 points in 45 games played . . .Linemate Logan Ferguson sits in sixth-place with 55 points . . .Since rejoining the Eagles after the X-mas break, forward Ryley Risling has put up a point a game with 3 goals and 8 assists in 11 games. . . Eagle defenceman Braiden Doucette has the second most points by a defenceman in the AJHL with 38 points in 41 games played. . . The Eagles powerplay continues to excel and currently leads the AJHL with 63 powerplay goals on the year.