Photo: Many former Eagle players came back to Canmore on Saturday night to watch the Eagles defeat the Grande Prairie Storm 5-1 including (back row – left to right) Luke Philp, Ciaron Driscoll, Trey Phillips, Nils Moser, Luke Simpson, Steven Phee and (front row) Zack Rassell and Cameron Barnes.
Story Courtesy of Russ Ullyot
Crag and Canyon – Sun Media
It was night of big returns for the Canmore Eagles on Saturday night.
Rookie goaltender Levi Nelson returned to the Canmore goal, while defenceman Griffin Mumby and forward Ryley Risling returned to the lineup from the World Junior A Hockey Challenge.
And the Eagles returned to the .500 mark this Alberta Junior Hockey League season with a 5-1 win over the visiting Grande Prairie Storm at the Canmore Rec Centre.
All three played major parts in the victory led by Nelson’s 45 saves in playing his first game since Oct. 25 – a game in which he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for 19 games.
“He was ready to go and we felt this was a good chance to get him into a game,” head coach Andrew Milne said. “I wish the shots were 20 less but he showed he was ready to go and the injury is not an issue.”
The rookie goaltender didn’t appear to have any rust to dust off from the long layoff, making 39 saves before being beaten with less than seven minutes to play. Those saves included stopping an early third-period penalty shot.
“I’ve been hitting the bike really hard, so I wasn’t worried about not being ready to go the distance,” said Nelson, who had been on the bench in a reserve role for the past five games.
Grande Prairie’s Tristan Crozier was awarded the penalty shot after being taken down by Brayden Biccum. Crozier tried to beat Nelson low left but the goaltender got his pad on the puck to turn it aside.
“My heart was going and he looked down and shot it, and it hit me. I was lucky,” said Nelson.
Mumby picked up three assists in returning to the lineup after missing five games while playing for Canada West in Kindersley, Sask.
Canada West teammate Risling assisted on one goal and also picked up three minor penalties and a 10-minute misconduct for a check to the head.
Jordan Revie scored two goals and helped set up two others.
“It was a nice way to go into the break,” said Revie, who in the last 10 games has eight goals and five assists – including a four-goal game Nov. 25 against the Calgary Mustangs.
Revie was more excited by the Eagles finding ways to win in December. The team has won five of seven games in this month, which included starting with a 4-3 loss in Grande Prairie.
“It was nice to see our guys get rewarded for their efforts,” head coach Andrew Milne said. “The games we lost (in December) we played pretty good. I think we deserved to win those. I think we are playing some pretty good hockey right now.”
Connor Wilson, Joe Serpico and Kurt Hildebrand also scored for Canmore, which played its final 2014 game before 475 fans.
Grande Prairie’s goal came from Ian McLellan.
In goal for Grande Prairie was Logan Thompson, who faced 47 shots.
Revie opened the scoring 2:54 into the contest on what looked like an intended cross-ice pass from the left wing boards set for Risling. The puck struck Thompson and careened into the net giving the Eagle forward 16 goals this season.
Connor Wilson made it 2-0 with a power-play marker at 11:50. His hard, high shot from the right side beat the Storm netminder far side. It was the Eagles captain’s 14th goal, tying his goal total of last season.
In the second period, Serpico pounced on a rebound and from close in and banged the puck off the Grand Prairie goaltender’s left pad and into the goal for a 3-0 lead. The power-play marker was Serpico’s 11th goal of the season and sixth in the last eight games. Risling took the original shot.
After the failed third-period penalty shot, Revie scored his second of the game and 17th of the season when he pounced on another rebound at 4:07.
Hildebrand then let go with a howitzer of a shot that beat Thompson just under the crossbar at 7:09. It was his eighth goal of the season.
Nelson’s attempt at a shutout ended at 13:33. McLellan got the Canmore goaltender moving the wrong way and could only get a piece of the puck but not enough to stop it from going in. Nelson had made 39 saves up to that point.
Canmore heads into a 10-day break with a record of 18 wins, 18 losses and one shootout defeat for 37 points, sixth in the South Division.
Grande Prairie is 13-23-2 and tied for sixth in the North Division..
EAGLES NEST: Scratches for the Eagles were injured D-men Jakob Lavoie and Nik Kosman, and healthy D Kevin Wolf and F Noah Philp. … Canmore now breaks for Christmas week returning to action Jan. 2 and 3 with games in Spruce Grove and Camrose respectively. … The next game at the Canmore Rec Centre is Jan. 6 vs. the Drumheller Dragons.
STORM 1 at EAGLES 5
Saturday, Dec. 20 at Canmore
1. Canmore: Revie (16) (Mumby) 2:54
2. Canmore: C. Wilson (14) (Revie, Mumby) 111:50 PP
PENALTIES – Lindberg GP, Risling Can (roughing) 5:16; Biccum Can (tripping) 5:29; Zablocki GP (tripping) 11:19; Risling Can (roughing) 14:02; Lindberg GP (cross checking) 16:51; Radford Can (slashing) 17:58.
3. Canmore: Serpico (11) (Revie, Risling) 7:18 PP
PENALTIES – Crozier GP (slashing), C. Wilson Can (10-min. misconduct) 2:20; Toole GP (slashing) 6:56; Risling Can (check to the head, 10-min. misconduct) 9:48; Lindberg GP (holding) 10:34; Olson Can (high sticking) 11:22; Brewer GP (unsportsmanlike conduct) 16:44
4. Canmore: Revie 2 (17) (S. Philp) 4:07
5. Canmore: Hildebrand (8) (Mumby) 7:09
6. Grande Prairie: McLellan (6) (Crozier) 13:33
PENALTIES – Brewer GP (cross checking) 00:55; Radford Can (high sticking) 1:03; Zablocki GP (hooking, cross checking) 10:43; Sutherland Can (hooking) 13:24.
PENALTY SHOT: Crozier GP Saved by Nelson (3:15 of 3rd period).
Shots on goal by:
Grande Prairie 18 12 16 — 46
Canmore 12 17 18 — 47
Goaltenders: Grande Prairie – Thompson (2-4). Canmore – Nelson (2-1).
Power Plays: Grande Praire 0 for 8; Canmore 2 for 9.
Referee: Anderson. Linesmen: Moss, Balagus.