EAGLE’S NEXT GAME: Friday, Jan. 11 in Brooks
EAGLE’S NEXT HOME GAME: Saturday, Jan. 12 versus Drayton Valley
The Canmore Eagles made it five Alberta Junior Hockey League wins in a row last night as they defeated the Calgary Mustangs 3-2 before 384 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The Eagle’s current winning streak marks the first time the club has put together five straight wins since Feb/March of the 2010 season and moves the club into fifth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with a record of 15-19-5. It was also the Eagle’s first win over the Mustangs in four games this year.
Special team play was the difference last night as Zack Rassell (14th) and Luke Simpson (11th) scored power play goals for Canmore, while the Eagle’s penalty killing units were perfect killing off all five Mustang power play opportunities. Rookie Jordon Revie had the other Eagle goal, his 4th of the season and second goal in as many games since returning from a separated shoulder. Netminder Cam Barnes picked up his fourth straight win for the Eagles, stopping 28 of 30 Mustangs shots.
“It wasn’t pretty but when your team is on a roll, they find ways to win and we did that tonight,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose team is battling through an outbreak of flu. “Our special teams played very well and that was the difference in the game. We have a few players under the weather, but everyone played hard and I am proud of their effort. It was a good team win.”
While the Eagles are suddenly flying high and building some badly needed confidence, the club will face a very challenging weekend coming up as they are scheduled to play two of the best clubs in the AJHL.
Canmore will travel to Brooks on Friday night for a “David vs. Goliath” type game against the nation’s #1 ranked Bandits. The Bandits sport a near perfect record of 37-1-1 this season and are unbeaten in 19 home games. Canmore still has four games left on their schedule against the Bandits and Friday’s game will be their first road journey to Brooks this season. Brooks won both earlier games played in Canmore by scores of 8-3 and 7-1.
Canmore will then return home for a Saturday, Jan. 12 game against the red-hot Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL’s Northern Division. The Thunder (24-14-4) are certainly on a roll right now as they are 8-1-1 in their last ten games, undefeated in their last six games, and are just four points out of first-place in the AJHL’s Northern Division standings. The Thunder also feature this week’s AJHL’s Player of the Week in Frederic Tanquay. The line of Tanquay, Neil Tarnasky and Mason Malkowich racked up 15 points in two victories over the Whitecourt Wolverines last weekend.
The two clubs met each other in Drayton Valley on November 16, with the Thunder coming out on top by a 4-3 score. Game time Saturday night is 7 pm.
NOTEBOOK: Steven Phee, who leads the Eagles in goals with 17, returned to the lineup last night after missing the two previous games with the flu and chipped in with an assist. . . Rookie forward Alex Bechtold missed the game with the flu . . . Newly acquired defenceman Mattia Bortolotto also missed the game with a lower body injury. . . . Eagle defenceman Trey Phillips, Ciarron Driscoll, and Johnny Stevens are all starting to find their groove offensively. Phillips has 11 points in his last 15 games, Driscoll has 5 points in his last 8 games, and Stevens has a point in each of his past 3 games. . . The Eagles will play four of their next five games on the road.
PHOTO: ZACK RASSELL WAS THE EAGLE’S “STAR OF THE GAME” LAST NIGHT. Photo courtesy of Julie Wilson