Eagles hold off Crusaders; split with Grizzlys
The Canmore Eagles posted their most impressive win of the Alberta Junior Hockey League season with a 7-4 win on home ice over the second-place Sherwood Park Crusaders on Friday (Nov. 24) but were unable to carry that momentum into their next home, a 2-1 loss to the last-place Olds Grizzlys on Sunday (Nov. 26).
Canmore’s week started with a 5-3 win in Olds on Tuesday (Nov. 21).
Defenceman Brody Mortensen recorded back-to-back two-goal games in the two victories, while Ethan Look scored three goals and added two assists in both wins. Unfortunately, despite valiant efforts, neither player was able to get the Eagles past the Grizzlys on Sunday afternoon.
Captain Brody Tallman returned to action on Sunday after missing three games due to concussion protocol. With Tallman’s absence, Logan Ziegler now has the team lead in goals, with 11, and points, with 25, after registering a goal and an assist in the win over Olds.
Kayden Rawji missed all three games as he served out his five-game suspension for a staged-fight penalty he took in a game against the Brooks Bandits on Nov. 15. The second year forward from Edmonton is eligible to return to action Tuesday, Nov. 28 when the Eagles host the Drumheller Dragons in Banff.
Canmore holds onto 12th place with a record of 11-15-1-1.
Eagles 5 at Grizzlys 3
Mortensen recorded the first of his back-to-back two-goal games in the Eagles’ victory.
Canmore raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 11 minutes. Ziegler scored his 11th of the season, stuffing the puck into the goal at 5:16 during a goalmouth scramble at the right-wing post. Look scored his third of the season at 10 minutes off a 3-on-1, needing only to redirect the puck into the left side of the goal off a pass from Mortensen, who moved the puck down the right wing. Then 49 seconds later and on the power play, Mortensen’s one-timer from the middle of the ice near the blue line slid all the way to the back of the net.
Olds would come back to tie the game. Adam Lore and Cade Moxham scored in the first period and Daniel North knotted the game at 3-3 at 4:37 of the second period.
The Eagles then skated off with the win with two third-period goals. Zach Coutu scored his sixth goal this campaign at 2:45 when he intercepted a pass at centre ice and on the breakaway went backhand between the pads of Grizzlys goaltender Aiden Comeau. The goal made up for Coutu’s penalty shot miss in the second period – after being hooked on a breakaway – when Comeau stretched out his left pad to deny the forward trying to tuck the puck into the goal. Mortensen then iced the game with an empty net marker at 19:03.
Canmore outshot Olds 34-24 with John MacPherson in goal for the Eagles – the rookie netminder’s 12th appearance of the season but first since Oct. 28.
On the power play, Canmore was 1-for-4 while Olds went 0-for-3.
Crusaders 4 at Eagles 7
Sherwood Park came into Canmore riding a seven-game winning streak as well as holding the second-best record in the AJHL. They left town with the winning streak snapped and gave up a season high number of goals in the process.
It took only 23 seconds for the Eagles to get on the scoreboard. Mortensen scored his first of the game from inside the left-wing face-off circle, catching Crusaders goaltender Daniel Heroux off the post as he guarded against Owen Jones, who made the backhand pass to his teammate.
Look would make it back-to-back games with goals, when the Calgary native scored his first of the game at 3:36, grabbing the rebound off an Emmanuel Hudson point shot and tossing it into the goal.
A power-play goal by Dominic Payne would get the Crusaders on the board but Mortensen’s second of the game at 14:41, coming as he came late into the slot and striking a Zach Coutu pass from the right wing, gave the Eagles a 3-1 lead at the first break.
The Eagles killed off five shorthanded situations in the period.
In the second frame, Canmore would extend its lead to 6-1. Bryson Insinger scored his first goal of the season when he wired a shot top shelf, far side from the right-wing face-off dot at 2:26 off a backhand pass off the boards from Carter Coutu. Rhett Dekowny scored his seventh goal, a power-play marker at 12:14, whipping a shot over the right pad of Heroux after being put in all alone on a stretch pass from Mortensen. Cohen Daoust then scored his first AJHL goal at 14:19, another power-play marker, following up on his own rebound off a 2-on-1 break with Tyler Loughman, shovelling the puck past Heroux.
Sherwood Park would score twice in the final 4:01 of the period, first Noah Wills followed by Zac Maxwell, to make it 6-3 heading to the third period.
It would be a two-goal deficit when Dominic Payne scored his second of the game at 9:13.
Look’s second goal of the game and 5th of the season, on the power play from the left-wing face-off that beat Heroux far side at 11:14, would renew the Eagles three-goal cushion.
Sherwood Park outshot Canmore 45-22 with Matthew Malin in goal for the Eagles.
On the power play, Canmore was 3-for-4 while Sherwood Park was 1-for-7.
Grizzlys 2 at Eagles 1
After posting its most impressive win of the season, Canmore was unable to repeat the goal-scoring feat against the last-place team in the AJHL. That was mostly due to an outstanding goaltending performance from Comeau, who faced down 46 shots, surrendering just one goal.
Following a scoreless first period, Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell gave the Eagles the lead at 4:49 of the second period, deflecting Hudson’s right side, point shot down and past the Grizzlys’ netminder.
Olds would even the score on Gaige Giblin’s power-play goal at 10:38.
Canmore looked to have taken the lead with 26 seconds left in the second period, but Ziegler had his goal waved off after consultation between all four officials, who ruled interference against Dekowny who got tied up with the goaltender at the top of the crease.
In the third period, Kyle Venneman scored the game winner on a 4-on-1 rush after the Grizzlys had just killed off their fifth shorthanded situation at 12:51. Canmore failed to capitalize on any of their power plays, while Olds went 1-for-4.
Canmore outshot Olds 46-18 with Malin in goal for the Eagles.
A few streaks were ended in the loss. Mortensen had five goals over his previous three games. Look had an eight-game points streak entering Sunday (four goals and nine assists). Jones had points in each of his past four games (two goals and five assists) before coming up against Olds.
Next up, Canmore hosts the Drumheller Dragons at the Banff Fenlands Recreation Centre on Tuesday, 7 p.m. start time to finish out November. December begins with games at the Canmore Recreation Centre, against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2 p.m.