Eagle rookie netminder Ryan Bontorin made the most of his first ever Alberta Junior Hockey League start stopping 35 of 38 shots as the Canmore Eagles defeated the Olds Grizzlys 5-3 before a crowd of 352 at the Olds Sportsplex on Tuesday night.
After dropping their first two games to start the 2015-16 regular season, the Eagles have now won four of their past five games and now sport a record of 4-3.
The Eagles, who were outshot 38-20, received goals from five different players as Kyle Pauls (3rd), Brett Radford (4th), Adam Tisdale (2nd), Coy Prevost (2nd) and Lane Olson (3rd) all hit the scoresheet.
“Olds did a great job of getting traffic to the net but Ryan (Bontorin) did an excellent job of battling through it and made some big saves on the night,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, of the 19-year-old goaltender who played in Austria last season. “He was calm throughout the night and did a great job of controlling the puck. I am happy for him because this should give him some added confidence going forward.”
Milne also had some special praise for Prevost, who came to the Eagles this season after playing for the Kimberley Dynamiters of the KJHL last season. Prevost was named the Eagles “Star of the Game” scoring a shorthanded goal and adding an assist.
“He’s a hound on the puck and he was all over the ice tonight,” said Milne of Prevost who now has seven points in seven games. “I’ve been telling him all year that his hard working style will pay off and tonight it did. He is very tenacious out there and it rubs off on the whole team.”
The Eagles will now head to Camrose for a pair of games this weekend at the annual AJHL Showcase Event. Canmore, who have gone 0-8 during their past four AJHL Showcase weekends, will meet the Grande Prairie Storm (1-4-2) on Friday, October 2 and the Sherwood Park Crusaders (5-2) on Saturday, October 3.
“The Showcase Weekend has certainly not been kind to us lately, but this is a new year with new players and I like the way we are playing as we head up there,” said Milne. “Our veterans are playing well and our rookies are hungry. Hopefully the change of venues from Spruce Grove to Canmose will also change our fortunes. We’re ready to go and look forward to the challenge of playing some northern division teams.”
The Eagles next home game will be on Tuesday, October 6 when the Okotoks Oilers pay a visit to the Canmore Recreation Centre.