In their first home game of the 2019 calendar year, the Canmore Eagles battled the Calgary Canucks, in what was a chippy and rough game. The game totalled 84 penalty minutes, featuring 1 major penalty, a match penalty and 3 game misconducts. The visiting Canucks who have only won 6 games in 43 contests this season gave the hometown Eagles a bit of a scare, as they battled back to make it a 1-goal deficit twice in the 3rd period, but the Eagles were able to pull off the victory as they downed the Canucks by a score of 5-3.
With the win, the Eagles improve their record to 22-16-3 for 47 points. They remain in 6th Place in the tight AJHL South division. The Eagles gained ground on the teams they are chasing this weekend as they find themselves 1 point back of the 5th Place Camrose Kodiaks, 3 points behind the 4th Place Calgary Mustangs and 5 points back of the 3rd Place Drumheller Dragons. The Eagles have a game in hand on all those teams.
“I thought they worked hard,” said Eagles’ Head Coach/General Manager Andrew Milne about the visiting Canucks in Sundays game. “They’re a frustrated group you can tell and sometimes our group got a little frustrated and that caused us to play a little bit different structure than we normally would. That was a big negative for us, but we were able to win, which is all it matters.”
17-year-old forward Alex Young who has been hot lately had another great performance as he scored twice (26th & 27th) and he also added 2 assists. The Sophomore has now 55 points in 40 games and he is tied for 4th in the AJHL scoring race. The other Eagles’ goals came from Zach Carlson (4th), Colton Young (19th) and Nolan Steer (1st).
Steer who is a specialist on the Penalty Kill and a great shot blocker has been robbed on several occasions on the offensive side this season, but Coach Milne was very happy to see his 2nd year Forward finally get rewarded with his 1st goal of the season saying, “I thought Nolan has been really good for us. He’s been snake bit lately, hasn’t been able to score, so I was really happy to see him score and get rewarded. He’s a big part of our club, he’s a big part of our team and often times, he doesn’t get the accolades he deserves, so glad to see Nolan come away with a 2 point night tonight.”
Steer’s goal was scored on the Power Play. He usually does not get regular Power Play time, but with a couple of Eagles’ players serving suspensions, he was given the opportunity.
Logan Dyck got the start between the pipes for the 2nd consecutive game. The 19-year-old netminder made 19 saves to improve his season’s record to 11-10-1. The Eagles outshot the Canucks by a wide margin of 51-22.
Despite winning both of their games this weekend Coach Milne feels the one thing the team certainly struggled with was maintaining emotional control.
Following last night’s game in Olds, Defenceman Daly Hamilton was handed a 1-game suspension, while Forward Taden Rattie received 2 games. In Sunday’s game, Eagles’ rookie Forward Michael Spafford was assessed a 5 minute major for Boarding and a Game Misconduct early in the 3rd period, while Forward Finn Whithey received a 5 minute Match Penalty late in the final frame. Spafford and Whithey might be receiving suspensions. The league will review the penalties and make a decision on both players if they will face disciplinary action.
The Eagles’ next game is a big one as they head to Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary on Tuesday night to take on the Mustangs (22-14-6). The Mustangs have been one of the hottest teams lately as they are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. They also have the Eagles’ number this season as they have won 3 of the first 4 meetings between the 2 teams.
“They’re obviously skating really well, they’re playing really well, so we’re gonna have to move our feet and skate, you can’t get caught watching, because they can skate, we’re gonna have to skate,” said Coach Milne regarding the Mustangs.
Tuesday's game represents a golden opportunity for the Eagles to inch closer to the South division rivals in the standings as the Eagles are 3 points back of the Mustangs.
After Tuesday’s game, the Eagles will return to home ice to host a pair of North division opponents next weekend. The Eagles will host the Spruce Grove Saints (25-14-2) on Friday night and the Drayton Valley Thunder (18-20-5) on Saturday night. Puck drop for both games is 7 pm.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– Alex Young was named the Mountain FM Player of the Game for the month of December. During the month of December, Alex had 15 points in 8 games. Since the calendar turned over to 2019, the 17-year old has certainly started where he left off at the end of 2018, as he has almost as many points so far in the month of January (14) as he had in December. Congratulations Alex and keep up the great work!
– In Sunday’s game, Alex Young and Max Giangualano were playing in their 100th game in an Eagles uniform.
– Tuesday’s game in Calgary is a make-up game that was originally scheduled on October 2. The game was postponed due to a big snowstorm in Southern Alberta.
– In today’s game, the other game misconduct was given to Canucks backup goalie Brett Balas for Interference from the bench as he interfered with an Eagles player who was on the ice. The netminder could also face some disciplinary action from the league.