PHOTO: Canmore scored three powerplay goals on Saturday night to down the Drumheller Dragons 4-2 and even their playoff series at 1-1. (Julie Wilson photo)
NEXT HOME GAME – Game Six, (if neccessary) – Sunday, March 23 @ 5 PM
It’s no secret to anyone who follows the Alberta Junior Hockey League that the Drumheller Dragons like to play a very rough and intimidating brand of hockey.
When you play the boys from the Alberta Badlands, you better be prepared for a very physical 60 minutes of hockey and hope that your powerplay brings its “A” game.
The Canmore Eagles did just that on Saturday night as they scored four first-period goals, three on them on the powerplay, en route to a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Dragons before another sold-out house of 675 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The victory by the Eagles evens the best-of-seven series at 1-1, with the series now shifting to Drumheller for Game 3 (Monday, March 17), Game 4 (Tuesday, March 18) and Game 5 (Friday, March 21).
The Eagles, who were outshot 35-24 on Saturday, received goals from Kurt Hildebrand, Luke Simpson, Trey Phillips and Austen Hebert.
The victory may have been very costly for the Eagles however as goaltender Ryan Ferguson, the AJHL’s All-Star rookie goaltender, was run down by former Eagle Alex Bechtold early in the third period and was immediately taken to hospital for examination of a lower body injury. Coincidently, Bechtold also received a penalty for goaltender interference at the .55 mark of the first period.
“I thought their guy made no attempt to stop,” said a clearly agitated Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne afterwards. “Fergie is an elite goalie and they tried to take him out of the game. The league is going to be looking at it. We hope the officials see that. It was not just one or two times, it was all night. They accomplished what they wanted, and that was to take Fergie out of the game. Fergie is a tough kid and hopefully his injury is not season ending. We are just going to have to take it for what it is and move forward.
“Overall though, I thought we played a very solid game. The boys were embarrassed by their play in Game One (a 6-2 loss) and they responded well tonight by going hard and aggressive. Drumheller took some penalties and we capitalized on our opportunities.”
NOTEBOOK: Game Six, if necessary, would be played in Canmore on Sunday, March 23 at 5 PM . . .With Ferguson on his way to the hospital, goaltender Cam Barnes came on in relief and shut down the Dragons for the last 16 minutes of the third period. . . The Eagle’s fan club is hoping to organize a bus trip to Drumheller for games on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Please contact Myra at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. . . A big THANKS to all our fans for their huge support recently as the Eagles have averaged over 650 fans for their last five home games! You make a huge difference.