PHOTO: Eagle defenceman Nikolas Kosman scored the overtime winner to propel the Eagles to a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Mustangs on Tuesday night. (Julie Wilson Photo)
NEXT HOME GAME – FRIDAY, FEB 28. VS BROOKS BANDITS – 7 PM
It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the Canmore Eagles kept their aspirations of a fourth-place finish alive last night as they hung-on to defeat the Calgary Mustangs 4-3 in overtime in an Alberta Junior Hockey League game played before 242 fans at the Father David Bauer Arena.
The victory improves the Eagle’s overall record to 32-24-3 and their 67 points moves them into fourth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings, one point ahead of the fifth-place Camrose Kodiaks. The Eagles have just one game left on their regular season schedule, while the Kodiaks have three games remaining. The Eagles and Kodiaks are confirmed to meet each other in the first-round of the AJHL playoffs next week, but home-ice advantage for the best-of-five series is still on the line.
Rookie goaltender Ryan Ferguson was named the Eagle’s “Star of the Game” on Tuesday night as the Mustangs outshot the Eagles by a wide 46-18 margin. It was the 12th time this season that Ferguson has been named the “Star of the Game” and the victory improves his record to 24-13-2. Ferguson's 24 wins also sets a new Eagle franchise record for victories by a rookie netminder.
AJHL MVP Trey Phillips continued his dream season with a pair of goals (24 & 25th), while Joe Serpico (17th) and Nikolas Kosman (6th) in overtime had the other Eagle goals.
“That was a key two points for us in the standings,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club jumped out to an early 2-0 first-period lead. “Our goal was to win the game and put some pressure on Camrose and we did that tonight. Our team seems to have trouble when we score early and that was certainly the case tonight. It seems like we play better when we have to work hard for our goals. It was a good thing that Fergie brought his A game tonight because we needed it.”
NOTEBOOK: With their victory last night, the Eagles won all six games against the Mustangs this season. . Canmore called up affiliate player Christopher Westlund for last night’s game. Westlund is currently playing at the Edge School in Calgary and leads his Gold Midget AA team with 31 goals and 38 assists in 52 games played. . . .The Eagles will be doing some scoreboard watching tonight as Camrose will play a big road game in Lloydminster against the Bobcats. . . With 25 goals this season, Trey Phillips becomes just the third defenceman in the AJHL to reach the 25-goal plateau since the 1985-86 season. . . Eagle forward Brett Radford is doing OK and is slowly recovering from a severe concussion that he suffered in Drumheller on Friday, Feb 21.