Saturday, December 1, 2012 – It will certainly not go in the record books as a “November to Remember” for the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta junior Hockey League.
The Eagles wrapped up their November portion of their 2012-2013 AJHL schedule last night absorbing a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Brooks Bandits in a game played before 437 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
After holding the Bandits to a 1-1 tie after one period, the Bandits put the game away with five second period goals and cruised to their 26th victory in 27 games played this season. Brooks is currently ranked as the #1 Junior A team in Canada and have outcored their opposition by a stunning 84 goals thus far.
Beset by a rash of serious injuries throughout the month, the Eagles managed just one win in 10 games during November. After a very promising start during the months of September and October, the Eagles now find themselves in eighth-place place in the Southern Division standings with a record of 10-14-4.  
Despite November’s slide, Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne remains ever optimistic.
“No question, November was a very tough month for us,” said Milne. “We played a lot of games without one of our top goaltenders (Ty Swabb), our leading point getter (Zack Rassell), our leading goal scorer (Steven Phee), our top penalty killer (Jeremy Margeson) and a host of other injuries throughout our lineup. We lost four games by one goal and I can’t help but think that if we had our full team playing, we could have turned those losses into wins. We are just now starting to get our injured players back, so we will be better prepared for the month of December.”
With 24 points in the standings, the Eagles still find themselves in the thick of things in the AJHL Southern Division standings as they are just five points back of the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons, three points back of fifth-place Olds Grizzlys, two points back of sixth-place Calgary Mustangs and one point behind seventh-place Calgary Canucks. The Eagles also hold games in hand on most the teams above them.
“We can certainly right the ship very quickly with a few wins,” said Milne. “We brought in three new players in the past week (forwards Bryan Arneson and Austen Hebert and defenceman Mattia Bortolotto) and it will take them a few games to feel comfortable with our systems here. We have eight games to play before the Christmas break, and every one of them will be very important for us. We need to get a few wins under our belt and get our confidence back.”
Canmore will attempt to get their December schedule off to a positive start tonight when they host the visiting Fort McMurray Oil Barons at the Canmore Recreation Centre. Game time is 7 pm.
The Oil Barons are also struggling with a lot of injuries this season and sport a record of 13-13-3. They were defeated by the Okotoks Oilers 7-2 last night.
“It should be a very entertaining game Saturday night,” said Milne. “Both teams need a win in the worst way.”
NOTEBOOK: The Eagle’s Christmas Tree lot opens today at the MJ Landscaping lot on Bow Valley Trail. The lot will be open from 11-7 today and 11-5 on Sunday. Monday to Friday hours are from 11-7 pm. The Eagles have 350 premium Balsam and Fraser Firs available. Come early for the best selection. The Eagles will provide two free hockey tickets with every tree sold.