Photo: CAM BARNES was the Eagle's “Star of the Game” in Friday's 3-2 win over the Calgary Mustangs – photo courtesy of Julie Wilson.
Lead by the solid goaltending of veteran netminder Cameron Barnes and a late third-period goal by 20-year-old Luke Simpson, the Canmore Eagles made it two wins in row as they defeated the visiting Calgary Mustangs 3-2 in a highly entertaining Alberta Junior Hockey League game played Friday night at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The win improves the Eagle’s early season record to 2-1, good enough for a first-place tie with four other teams in the AJHL Southern Division standings. The Mustangs fell to 1-2.
Barnes stopped 29 of 31 Mustangs shots and was the named the Eagle’s “Star of the Game”.
“Cam wasn’t very happy with his first two starts, but he was at his best tonight and he certainly kept us in the game on several occasions,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, who had given Barnes the “yank” in Game Two of the regular season on Sept. 7 after allowing two goals on two Calgary Canuck shots. “He bounced back with a big game for us and that’s the kind of performance we expect to receive from Cam. This is his third year in the AJ, and this is his year to shine. He certainly did tonight”.
Simpson’s game winning goal, his second of the season, was scored with just .36 seconds left in the third period after fellow Canmore born and raised resident Nils Moser stole the puck from behind the Mustang net to set up Simpson for a one-timer just outside the goal crease to win the game. Rookie Kurt Hildebrand and Simon Philp had the other Eagle goals.
“It was another character win for us,” said Milne. “Everyone is working hard and buying into the system. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but I like the direction we’re going. The veterans are leading and the rookies are playing with enthusiasm.”
The Eagles will now play four of their next five games on the road as they have a re-match with the Mustangs back in Calgary on Wednesday Sept. 18 and then make the big trip north to Fort McMurray to face the Oil Barons on Sat. Sept. 21. Canmore will then play at home on Tuesday, Sept. 24 against the Olds Grizzlys before heading north to Spruce Grove for the annual Show Case weekend with games against Whitecourt (Sept. 26) and the Calgary Canucks (Sept. 27).
NOTEBOOK: Attendance at the Canmore Recreation Centre was 383. . . The Eagles outshot the Mustangs 41-31 on the night. Both teams went 1-7 on the power-play. . . . Special thanks to Terry Morgan and the Kidsport program for hosting a pre-game BBQ. . . More than 100 Eagle players, fans, billets and volunteers will enjoy a great day on the Brewster Kananaskis Ranch Golf course on Saturday as the club hosts its’ 17th Annual Golf Tournament.