The Canmore Eagles showed they don’t need to rely on one player to win hockey games.
With the leading scorer in the Alberta Junior Hockey League watching from the stands, the hometown Eagles skated to an impressive 5-1 win over the Okotoks Oilers on Tuesday night.
Bryce Platt scored his first two goals of this season and picked up one assist.
“It feels pretty good. It’s a pretty big monkey off my back. I’ve had lots of chances in the first few games,” said the former Calgary Hitmen, who joined the Eagles on Oct. 4 and has now played in seven games.
“They were both just getting to the net … I was just doing my thing and finding success with it.”
Evan McFeeters, Eagles assistant coach, said it was just a matter of time that the former WHL’er would start posting offensive numbers.
“He was bound to break out. He has been getting chances on the power play. He is a big body creating space out there. It was just a matter of time before he got a stick on one. Then he felt pretty good and was able to bang in the second one.”
Also scoring for the Eagles were Logan Ferguson, with his team leading 11th goal of the season, Braden Saretsky, with his ninth to extend his points scoring streak to seven games, and Colton Young, his first of this season.
Young finished the game with two points, adding an assist to his tally. Also having a two-point night was Adamu Tanaka, both assists.
Demetrius Kambeitz scored for Okotoks, ending Ryan Bontorin’s bid for a third shutout this season with 6:46 remaining in the game, played before 417 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Bontorin lowered his goals-against average to 3.27 and raised his save-percentage to .894.
The Eagles were without Matt Forchuk, who was handed a one-game suspension after receiving a game misconduct for comments he directed towards game officials in the final minutes of a 2-1 loss to the Camrose Kodiaks a week ago. Forchuk has a league-leading 26 points (9G-17A) but his absence didn’t deter the team on Tuesday.
“We had a week off to prepare so we had high expectations,” said McFeeters. “With this being a divisional matchup we really stressed we need two points.”
Canmore outshot Okotoks 35-33, with the Oilers starting with 16-year-old rookie Matthew Armitage to start the game. He was pulled at 15:49 of the first period after surrendering three goals but returned at the start of the second period and finished the game, making 27 saves. Riley Morris, the Oilers No. 1 goaltender, came into play the final 4:11 of the first period and faced just one shot.
Canmore lead 3-0 after the first period and 4-0 after 40 minutes.
With the win Canmore is now 7-5-2 and leapfrogged the idle Drumheller Dragons (6-6-3) into fourth place in the South Division.
Okotoks is now 9-4-2 and remains second in the South.
Canmore heads out on a three-game road trip to the northwest of the province with games in Grande Prairie on Friday, Whitecourt on Saturday and Drayton Valley on Sunday afternoon.
“The expectations are to win two of the three games this weekend,” said McFeeters.
EAGLES NEST: Canmore was 2-for-6 on the power play while Okotoks was 0-for-6. … Canmore has now scored 62 goals on the season, fourth best in the AJHL but second best on average per game at 4.43. … Scratches for Canmore besides Ferguson were Jake Ashton and Jonas Gordon. … It is expected that Bontorin’s consecutive games (14) and minutes played (844) streaks will come to an end this weekend with Head Coach Andrew Milne indicating recently signed backup Thomas Davis will get his first start.
For more from Russ at the Crag and Canyon:http://www.thecragandcanyon.ca/2016/10/26/eagles-platt-too-slick-for-oilers
Photo by Pam Doyle