Wednesday, November 21, 2012 – It promises to be an exciting weekend of Alberta Junior Hockey League action this Friday and Saturday night when the Camrose Kodiaks pay a visit to the Canmore Recreation Centre for a pair of critical back-to-back games against the Canmore Eagles.
Both the Kodiaks and the Eagles are in the middle of a six-team dog-fight in the AJHL Southern Division standings with only five points separating the third-place team from the eighth-place club.
The Kodiaks will enter this weekend’s action in third-place with 26 points after 25 games played (12-11-2), while the Eagles currently sit in sixth-place with 24 points after 24 games played (10-10-4). The two teams have not met each other this season.
“Camrose is always one of the best clubs in the Southern Division and we know they will be coming in here looking to sweep both games and put some separation between us in the standings,” said Eagle Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “The Kodiaks are a very young club this year and they are starting to play much better hockey as the season moves forward and they gain some valuable experience.”
One young Kodiak player that will warrant special attention is rookie forward Tanner MacMaster, who currently leads his club in scoring with 11 goals and 10 assists in 24 games. The 16-year-old is a graduate of the Calgary Buffaloes AAA Midget program, where, last year, he registered 39 points in 32 games while ringing up a rugged 66 penalty minutes. MacMaster, who has maintained his NCAA eligibility, was selected by the WHL Spokane Chiefs in the 1st round (19th overall) in the 2011 Bantam Draft .
While keeping MacMaster in check will be critical to the Eagle’s success, this weekend’s two home games also represents an excellent opportunity for Canmore to establish themselves as a legitimate contender in the AJHL Southern Division.
In their nine games played at home this season, Canmore is 6-1-2 and have secured 14 out of a possible 18 points. The Kodiaks have played 12 games on the road this season and sport a 4-7-1 road record.
“The next month is an important part of the schedule for us,” said Milne. “We’ve played OK over the first 24 games, but it’s time for us to take the next step forward. We need to start putting a string of wins together. We play seven games over a 25-day period, and six of the games are at home, so this is an excellent opportunity for us to prove to ourselves that we are a good hockey team. Playing Camrose back-to-back this weekend will be a big challenge for us. Playing at home, in front of our home town fans, has been good to us this year and hopefully we can continue to take advantage of home ice this weekend.”
Game time is 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday night. With approximately 100 Camrose fans expected to make the weekend trip to Canmore, make sure you get to the arena early to get your game tickets. It could be a sell-out!
NOTEBOOK: Eagle’s defenceman Nikolas Kosman will be lost to the team for the next 6-8 weeks after suffering a broken wrist/forearm during last Saturday’s game in Grande Prairie . . .Goaltender Ty Swabb is still suffering from a lower body injury suffered on Oct. 27 and his return to a starting role is unknown . . . Eagle forward Simon Philp, who has not played a game this year after undergoing hip surgery this fall returned to practice on Tuesday and hopes to get himself back into the lineup prior to the Christmas break. Philp, at 6’2 and 175 lb, will be a welcomed addition to the club as the Canmore product had 23 points in 47 games played last season.