If the Canmore Eagles are to advance to the Alberta Junior Hockey League Southern Division finals, they will now have to win three playoff games in a row.
The Eagles gave it a strong effort last night, but came away empty handed as they suffered a heart-breaking 6-5 overtime loss to the Drumheller Dragons in Game Four of their playoff series before 1,001 on-lookers at the Drumheller Memorial Arena.
The Eagles now trail the best-of-seven AJHL Southern Division semi-final series 3-1 with Game Five also scheduled for Drumheller on Friday, March 21. Game Six, if necessary, would be played in Canmore on Sunday, March 23 at 5 PM.
The Eagles took a 4-3 lead into the third period, but couldn’t put the Dragons away. The Dragons took advantage of a controversial goal early in the third period which allowed them to tie the game at 4-4. While the on-ice official ruled that a shot by Dragon Trent Ouellette had not crossed the goal line behind Canmore goaltender Cam Barnes, the goal judge ruled otherwise and after a extended discussion among on-ice officials, they reversed their decison and a goal was awarded.
“Our video did not show that going in,” said Eagle's Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne afterwards. “The goal judge totally called that. None of the officials on the ice saw that go in. That’s a tough way to lose a game.
“But we battled back hard and gave ourselves a chance to win, but for whatever reason, it was not to be. We got our offence back after being shut out the night before and we deserved a better fate. But now, we are truly backed into a corner and every one of our guys will have to play desperate hockey from here on in. I know we are capable of coming back to win this series.”
Canmore rookie Ryley Risling had a pair of goals for the Eagles, while Austen Hebert, Simon Philp and Lane Olson chipped in with singles. The Eagles were outshot 28-27 on the night.
NOTEBOOK: Should the Eagles be victorious in Game Five in Drumheller on Friday night, advanced tickets for Sunday afternoon’s “Game Six” will go on sale at the Canmore Recreation Centre beginning Saturday afternoon from 2-6 pm. . . . There WILL be a fan bus heading to Drumheller for Friday night’s GAME FIVE as 30 people have already signed up. Cost is $30 per person, plus hockey ticket. Please contact Myra Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat . . . The Brooks Bandits have already secured their spot on the Southern Division final as they defeated the Olds Grizzlys in four straight games in the other playoff series.