It was a group of rookie and prospect players who hit the ice for the Eagles? first Pre-Season contest last night in Airdrie, at Ebbesen Arena against the Olds Grizzlys. The only veterans in the Eagles lineup were 20-year-old Forward Nolan Steer and 19-year-old Forward Zach Carlson. The Grizzlys who were playing their third Pre-Season game and started off their camp a 1 ½ week earlier than the Eagles had a more veteran lineup with 8 players having previously played Junior A Hockey. The Eagles young prospects certainly showed some potential, but unfortunately, the Eagles ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, losing 5-3 to the Grizzlys.
?I thought our guys faired well and it was a good learning experience for the young players,? said Eagles Assistant Coach/Assistant General Manager Evan McFeeters.
The first period was a high scoring one, as the Grizzlys scored 4 times, while the Eagles struck twice on goals from Forward Kyle Young (the younger brother of Alex and Colton Young) and Forward Logan Hauer.
The second period was scoreless and in the final frame both teams exchanged a goal, with Forward Heath Armstrong scoring for the Eagles. The final shot count read 27-21 in favour of Olds. Between the pipes, it was Devin Chapman who started the game. Chapman who is expected to be the team?s backup this season gave up 4 goals on 6 shots in the first period. Andreai Proctor-Ramirez played the last 40 minutes and he stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
Despite the end result, Coach McFeeters thought that everyone played well. Among the players who stood out, he thought that Forwards Jack McKeown (03 born), Heath Armstrong (02 born) and Logan Hauer (03 born) were great.
?McKeown plays hard and Armstrong looks really comfortable, said Coach McFeeters. “Armstrong’s making a strong push for a roster spot and Hauer, we are high on him and he certainly has the potential to be a good Junior A player.”
Next up is a pair of games against the Calgary Canucks this weekend. The two teams will meet at Ken Bracko Arena in Calgary on Friday night at 7 pm and in Cochrane for the return match on Saturday night at 7:30 pm.
?We expect to dress more vets for this weekend?s games,? said Coach McFeeters. ?We sent a bunch of players back to Midget AAA. We like them and told them there is a future for them. We need to get down on our numbers, we started Camp a week after the other teams, so we need to start gelling and get ready for the start of the regular season.”
The two games against the Canucks this weekend will wrap up the Pre-Season schedule. After that, the Eagles will get 1 ½ week of preparation before taking on those same Canucks for the team?s season opener in Calgary on Wednesday, September 18 and again in Banff on Friday, September 20 for the Home Opener.