Eagles end slide
The Canmore Eagles snapped a six-game losing streak with a tightly contested 3-2 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder in the first of two Alberta Junior Hockey League games at the Canmore Recreation Centre this past weekend. The Friday (Oct. 27) win however was followed by a 5-2 to the Lloydminster Bobcats on Saturday (Oct. 28).
The weekend results leave Canmore (5-10-1-1) in 14th place with 12 points. The Eagles are three points back of the three teams – the Camrose Kodiaks, Whitecourt Wolverines and Fort MacMurray Oil Barons – in a tightly contested battle in the bottom half of the league table that includes Lloydminster at 16 points. Drayton Valley holds onto 15th place with 10 points and the Olds Grizzlys are in the basement with 8 points.
The Eagles have made several player-related moves over the recent weeks, with the latest being the addition of defenceman Nolan Kazell. The 19-year-old played 43 games with Fort MacMurray last season and 11 games – and one assist – this season with the club before the move to Canmore. The Edmontonian played in both games this past weekend.
Leaving the club was 2005-born, rookie defenceman Josh Missfeldt, who appeared in seven games.
On the injury front, the team was without goaltender Matthew Malin for the weekend set of games. The third-year player who hails from San Francisco, Calif. is listed as week-to-week as he recovers from ongoing symptoms following a collision in an Oct. 20 in a game in Grande Prairie.
In other news, Assistant Coach-Assistant GM Bryan Arneson has been selected as an assistant coach for Team Canada West (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Superior International) that will participate in the World Junior A Hockey Challenge. There will be a selection camp in the early part of the month followed by the actual tournament in Truro, N.S. from Dec. 10-17. In addition to Team Canada West, the other participants are Team Canada East, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States. Eligible players for Canada are those playing at the provincial junior level.
Thunder 2 at Eagles 3
The game in Canmore completed a home-and-home set between the Eagles and Thunder, although the games came six days apart. Two goals by Logan Zeigler helped the Eagles snap a six-game losing skid and gave the Calgarian goals in three consecutive games and a team high seven goals and 13 points on the season.
Canmore defenceman Emanuel Hudson opened the scoring at 12:23 of the first period. Owen Jones grabbed the loose puck near centre, skated down the left wing and swung around the net, delivering a perfect pass onto Hudson’s stick as he entered the zone. The Lethbridge-native’s long shot sailed over the right shoulder of the Thunder goaltender Chazz Nixon, tucking in just under the cross bar, giving him two goals on the season.
The Thunder would answer less than two minutes later with a shorthanded effort by Ryan Neumann at 14:06.
Zeigler would put the Eagles back in front at 14:34 – just 28 seconds later – with his first of the game. The power-play goal was the result of working with teammate Ethan Look, as the two players combined for two cross-ice passes that gave Zeigler on the return pass time and space to wire the puck top shelf over Nixon’s left shoulder. The Eagles would take a 2-1 lead into the first break.
Zeigler than upped the Eagles lead to two goals at 3:23 of the second period. A collision between Thunder teammates left them both on the ice right in front of the Eagles’ bench and the Canmore forward pounced on the puck and then wired a quick shot low, far side from just inside the top of the right-wing, face-off circle.
Drayton Valley would get back within one goal when Matthias Bessey scored at 5:44. That would be the last scoring play of this game.
Drayton Valley threw 35 shots as Canmore goaltender John MacPherson, making his fourth consecutive start in the absence of Malin. Canmore finished with 27 shots.
On the power play, Drayton Valley was 0-for-4 and Canmore was 1-for-5.
Bobcats 5 at Eagles 2
The special teams work by Lloydminster denied Canmore a chance at posting back-to-back wins on home ice as the Eagles played consecutive home games for the first time this season.
It looked like it might happen when Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell scored just 19 seconds into the contest. The recent addition to the Eagles, scored for the third time in five games, when he was quickest to a rebound off a Josh Hoekstra long shot, firing the puck past the Bobcats goaltender.
Lloydminster would rally on two first-period, power-play goals to take a 2-1 lead by the end of the first period. Brody Juck scored at 4:14 and Caden Cabana scored at 17:24.
Canmore got back on even terms at 15:17 of the middle frame when Casey Black scored a power-play goal. Once again it was a rebound the Eagles would capitalize on as MacPherson-Ridgewell’s shot from the right point was stopped but slid out to the left-wing where Black was all alone with only an unprotected goal in front of him.
Lloydminster would regain its lead with its third power-play goal on its third chance this game at 17:10. Juck would score his second of the game. The Bobcats would then go on to score the only two goals of the third period. Kade Fendelet scored at 11:34 followed by an empty-net, shorthanded goal by Cabana for his second of the game at 17:48.
Canmore outshot Lloydminster 46-34 with MacPherson in goal for the Eagles and Jack Solomon in goal for the Bobcats.
On the power play, Canmore finished 1-for-7 and Lloydminster would end up the night 3-for-7.
Next up for the Eagles is another weekend road trip to the north of the province as the team heads to Fort MacMurray for games Saturday, Nov. 4 and Sunday, Nov. 5. Then its off to Blackfalds on Wednesday, Nov. 8 before returning home to host the Camrose Kodiaks for a doubleheader on Nov. 10-11.