When you’re HOT, you’re HOT!
The Canmore Eagles won their seventh straight Alberta Junior Hockey League game last night as they defeated the visiting Drayton Valley Thunder by a 5-2 score in a game played before 486 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre. It is the longest Eagle’s winning streak since the Jan/Feb 2007 season.
It was a great weekend for the Eagles all around as they also defeated the powerful Brooks Bandits by a 4-3 score on Friday night in a game played in Brooks. It was the first victory by Canmore over Brooks in 16 consecutive attempts.
With seven straight victories under their belt, the Eagles have moved into fifth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with a record of 17-19-5 and 39 points. They trail the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons by five points and enjoy a game in hand on the Dragons.
Twenty-year old Zack Rassell was the hot man for the Eagles last night as the University of Alaska/Anchorage bound centre scored a hat trick (15th,16th &17th), while Luke Simpson (14th) and call-up Carter Jensen (1st) had the other Eagle goals. Forwards Bryan Arneson and Alexander Bechtold both picked up two assists on the night.
Goaltender Ty Swabb returned to the Eagle lineup last night after missing the past 10 weeks with a high ankle strain and was very steady stopping 45 of the Thunder’s 47 shots. Drayton Valley outshot the Eagles by a 47-25 margin.
“What can you say about a weekend like this, except that everyone played great,” enthused a happy Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “The goaltenders stopped the puck, the defenceman moved the puck up the ice effectively, the forwards scored goals, and the penalty killers were outstanding again. Confidence is a huge thing in junior hockey and we are starting to see that now on our hockey club. The boys believe in themselves. Everyone is feeling great, doing their job, and that’s why we’re winning hockey games.”
The Eagles will now enjoy a few days rest before heading out on the road for three straight games. Canmore will play the Canucks in Calgary on Thursday Jan. 17, the Oil Barons in Fort McMurray on Sat. Jan. 19. and the Dragons in Drumheller on Wed. Jan. 23. The Eagle’s next home game is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 25 against Camrose.
NOTEBOOK: In their last eight games, the Canmore penalty killing units have killed off 29 out of 30 power play attempts. . . Newly acquired forward Austen Hebert suffered a knee injury in Brooks and did not dress against Drayton Valley. Jordon Revie, Connor Wilson and Trey Phillips all returned to the Eagle lineup last night after missing Friday’s game in Brooks. . . After a long string of bad luck where he seemed to hit almost every goal post in the AJHL, Canmore native Luke Simpson has suddenly found his offensive touch. Simpson has four goals in his past four games and has racked up nine points in his past seven games. . . . Newly acquired forward Bryan Arneson has 11 points in 17 Eagle games. . . With last night’s victory over Drayton Valley, the Eagles have now defeated the top five teams in the AJHL’s Northern Division.
PHOTO – ZACK RASSELL HAD THREE GOALS AGAINST DRAYTON VALLEY
Photo courtesy of Julie Wilson