Eagles offence takes flight against Pontiacs
With four goals in three games, the Canmore Eagles offence seemed in need of a fix. The solution it appears is to take on another top-tier Alberta Junior Hockey League club.
The final game of a five-game homestand saw Canmore defeat the Bonnyville Pontiacs 5-1 ending a three-game slide. The Eagles began their home stand with a 7-5 victory over the second-place Sherwood Park Crusaders on Nov. 24 but followed it up with losses to the last-place Olds Grizzlys, 2-1 on Nov. 26, 3-1 to the sixth-place Drumheller Dragons and 5-2 to the then 15th-place Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
With Sunday’s result, Canmore moves back into 12th place with a record of 12-17-1-1 as the team reached the halfway point of the regular season. Drayton Valley at 12-16-1-0 falls into 13th place with 25 points while Fort McMurray at 10-17-1-3 holds down 14th place at 24 points. The two teams out of the playoff positions are the Camrose Kodiaks at 9-17-0-0 for 15th with 22 points and Olds at 6-19-2-3 in 16th place with 17 points, although the Grizzlys put together back-to-back wins – over Canmore and Camrose – for their week.
Games this past week:
Dragons 3 at Eagles 1
In the first of two games in Banff this season, Canmore was unable to profit from the numerous power plays that came their way from a vigorous Drumheller challenge.
Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell scored the lone Canmore goal late in the first period as the Eagles went just 1-for-10 with the man advantage.
Meanwhile, Drumheller went 2-for-6 in the game, scoring twice in the first period, with goals by Jacob Goudreau and Connor Poffenroth giving the visiting Dragons a 2-0 lead.
Vann Yuhas would add an empty net, shorthanded goal in the final minutes.
Drumheller outshot Canmore 30-28 with Matthew Malin in goal for the Eagles and Sean Cootes in goal for the Dragons.
Despite the result, the Eagles can’t wait to return to the Banff Fenlands Recreation Centre – Jan. 17 against the Grande Prairie Storm – as they were cheered on by a season-high 982 fans.
Oil Barons 5 at Eagles 2
Fort McMurray scored three second-period, power-play goals en route to handing Canmore its third successive loss. Each team scored a goal in each of the first and third periods.
Jason Huang gave the visiting Oil Barons a 1-0 lead at 1:37 of the first period. Logan Ziegler, with his 12th of the season, responded for the Eagles at 15:07 with a wrist shot from just above the left wing, face-off circle.
Canmore took three minor penalties in the back half of the second period and Fort McMurray scored a goal during each of them as Ethan Sundar, Carter Schmidt and Evan Arnold gave the Oil Barons a 4-1 lead.
Canmore would get back to within two goals when Keston Beagle scored his first junior hockey goal at 12:10 of the third period, his left-side point shot sliding all the way into the goal.
Ryan Arnold would score an empty net goal at 17:46 to restore the Oil Barons three-goal lead.
Canmore outshot Fort McMurray 46-40 with John MacPherson in goal for the Eagles, while Gabe Gratton played the first two periods for the Oil Barons with Noah Nelson in goal for the third period.
On the power play, Fort McMurray, which came into the game with the 15th best power play finished 3-for-4 while Canmore was 1-for-6.
Pontiacs 1 at Eagles 5
Canmore finished up its homestand with another impressive goaltending display from Malin, who stopped 34 of 35 Bonnyville shots in the Sunday matinee.
The Pontiacs, who are in seventh place, took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal from Dante Siciliano, but were shutdown by Malin the remainder of this game.
Canmore scored three goals in the second period to take the lead.
Tavynn Schlaht scored his first junior A goal in his 20th appearance at 7:46. Bonnyville goaltender Nathan St-Germain came out to play the puck behind his net but missed it and the Canmore rookie grabbed the puck on the right-wing side of goal and with a quick stick move to the front of the net deposited it into the open goal.
Canmore’s leading goal scorer Logan Ziegler scored his 13th of the season at 17:57, proving to be the game winner. The 19-year-old whipped the puck into the top left corner of the goal as he had an open shot from the left-wing face-off circle.
The Eagles extended their lead to 3-1 at 19:34 when Kayden Rawji scored his first goal in 15 games and his third of the season on the power play. Brody Mortensen’s point shot was wide left of the goal, bouncing off the boards and coming back onto Rawji’s stick, who was unguarded in front of the net, from where he flipped the puck into the unguarded side of the net.
Canmore wasn’t done with the scoring this afternoon with two more goals in the third period.
Josh Hoesktra scored his fourth goal of the season at 1:28 during a 4-on-4 scenario, pouncing on a puck that St-Germain fumbled after making an initial save off a Tyler Loughman shot. Loughman would finish the game with three assists.
Brody Tallman completed the scoring at 10:20. The Canmore captain scored his 11th goal of the season, and ninth on the power play, with another point shot that weaved its way through a crowd in front of the goal. The Eagles were on a five-minute power play at the time after Pontiac Brent Hoshowski was handed an instigator minor and fighting major when he started throwing punches at Rawji during a post-whistle scrum.
Canmore would finish 2-for-2 on the power play while Bonnyville was 1-for-3.
Bonnyville would outshot Canmore 35-21.
Canmore now heads back out on the road for games in Olds on Wednesday (Dec. 6) and in Drumheller on Saturday (Dec. 9). The Eagles return to the Canmore Recreation Centre on Tuesday, Dec. 12 to host the league-leading Brooks Bandits, with game time 7 p.m.