Story courtesy of Russ Ullyot
Postmedia – Crag and Canyon
The Canmore Eagles are coming home looking for a change in fortune.
The hometown Bandits recorded a 4-0 win on Saturday night and grabbed a 2-0 lead over the visiting Eagles in this Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division semifinal series.
Garret Hughston recorded his second shutout of the series, needing to stop just 14 shots. He needed to stop only 18 shots in Friday's 8-0 win.
The Eagles offence was without its leading playoff scorer Matt Forchuk, who left Friday's game after taking a hard shot on his lower leg in the first period of Friday's game. The 19-year-old, who had six points (3G-3A) in a four-game win over the Drumheller Dragons, would limp off the ice and did not return but taken to hospital for evaluation.
“He has a pretty bad bruise on his shine, and there is a lot of pressure on it right now,” said Andrew Milne, Canmore Eagles general manager and head coach, following Saturday's game. “We just wanted to give him another two days off: today and tomorrow [Saturday and Sunday]. Nothing is broken and nothing is long term.”
Brooks goals came from Dylan McCory and Tyrell Mappin, each their second goals of this series, Landon Welykholowa and Jeff Malott before 1,304 fans at Centennial Regional Arena.
Brooks outshot Canmore 44-14.
Ryan Bontorin was in goal for Canmore and has played every minute of these playoffs.
The series now switches to the Canmore Recreation Centre for the next two games, Monday and Tuesday. Start times both days are 7 p.m.
Brooks has done a good job of keeping Canmore players from getting into good scoring positions throughout the first two games.
“We are getting a lot of zone time but we are just not getting to the front of the net. We know that is something we have to do to be successful and score – get pucks to the net but we are not getting enough of them to the net,” Milne said.
“(Brooks) are also playing a pretty disciplined game and not letting our power play get involved in the game.”
Brooks has three power-play goals on seven chances in this series while Canmore has no goals on three opportunities.
Much like Friday, Brooks scored early in this game. Welykholowa was left alone in front of the Canmore goal and after receiving a centring pass from Mappin wristed a shot just under the crossbar over Bontorin's right shoulder at 2:47.
It was the only goal of the opening period thanks to Brett Schimmel sweeping a puck off the goal line and a reach-back save by Bontorin.
Brooks outshot Canmore 12-4 with the Eagles having some strong moments but they were kept away from the front of the Bandits' goal. Each team took one minor penalty in the period with the overlap giving each team one minute of man-advantage time.
In the second period, Brooks outshot Canmore 20-5 and scored three goals, including two on the power play.
McCrory's right wing shot went between Bontorin's pads for a 2-0 lead at 13:01.
On the first of two power plays in the period, Mallott from down low on the right wing side wired a shot far side past Bontorin at 14:29.
On the second man-advantage opportunity, Mappin in front of goal deflected Cockrell's long flick-on into the open side of goal at 19:24.
There was no scoring the third period with the Bandits outshooting the Eagles 12-5.
Over the two games, Brooks has outscored Canmore 12-0 and outshot the Eagles 95-32.
Milne believes home ice can provide the tonic the team needs to get back into this series.
“I thought we stood around and watched Game 1 and tonight we were better at times. … I am hoping the guys are feeling a little more confident after the way they played tonight,” Milne said. “Once we get back into our building, and with time to re-evaluate and address things we will see a little more offence.”
While Forchuk had to sit this one out, Kyle Pauls did return to the Eagles' lineup after missing 13 games with a shoulder injury.
“It was good to see him be physical and finishing his checks. His shoulder was a none issue,” Milne said. “I thought Kyle played really well for his first game in five weeks.”
There was a full slate of AJHL playoff games on Saturday night:
Crusaders 1 at Saints 6
At Spruce Grove, the North's No. 1 team took a 2-0 lead in the series in a penalty-filled game that featured 41 minor penalties – 26 to Sherwood Park – as well as one major and four misconducts. Six different players scored for Spruce Grove as they were two-for-eight on the power play. The visiting Crusaders went scoreless in six chances.
Bobcats 5 at Wolverines 2
At Whitecourt, Royal Bank Cup host Lloydminster takes a demanding 2-0 series lead while playing on the road. Kris Spriggs and Eric Benshadle each scored once and registered one assist in Saturday's win.
The Bobcats won Friday's opening game of the series 2-1 in overtime. Benshadle had the game winner on the power play at six minutes of the first extra period.
Oilers 1 at Kodiaks 4
At Camrose, the opening game of this series was won 4-1 by the Kodiaks.
EAGLES NEST: Also not dressing for Canmore were foward Ryley Risling, defencemen Brayden Biccum and Cole Noble. … Brooks lineup includes Canmorite Tristan Thompson, who started the season with the Old Griizzlys. He played last season wih the Drumheller Dragons. The 19-year-old has committed to Alaska Fairbanks (NCAA Div. 1). … Should the series go past four games, the fifth game would be played in Brooks, 7 p.m. on Friday, the sixth game in Canmore, 6 p.m. on Sunday, and the seventh game in Brooks, 7 p.m. on Tuesday.