THE GOOD – With eight games remaining in their regular season and a record of 21-26-5 and 47 points, the Canmore Eagles have officially clinched a playoff position in the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Southern Division. The Eagles, who missed the playoffs last season, are 13 points ahead of the eighth-place Calgary Canucks and the Canucks have just six games left in their schedule. The top seven clubs qualify for post-season play.
THE BAD – The Canmore Eagles dropped their fifth straight AJHL game last night as the injury ravaged club was defeated by the visiting Okotoks Oilers 5-2 before 459 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre. It was the Oilers 16 straight victory over the Eagles dating over a span of three seasons.
THE UGLY – The injury list of Canmore Eagles unable to suit up for play continues to grow. Canmore played last night’s encounter against the Oilers without five regular starters including three of the club’s top defencemen. D-men  Johnny Stevens (shoulder), Alex Barnes (knee) and Trey Phillips (shoulder) all sat out, as did forwards Nils Moser (ankle) and Steven Phee (shoulder). Forward Simon Philp dressed but saw limited ice time due to a nagging hip injury. With luck, most of the injured players should be back for post-season play in early March. Until then, it’s going to be very tough sledding for the eight regular season games remaining.
In last night’s game against Okotoks, the Eagles actually took a 2-1 lead into the third period but couldn’t match the red-hot Oilers intensity in the third period as Okotoks scored four unanswered goals to extend their winning streak over the Eagles.
Zack Rassell with his 22nd, and Riley Point (12th) had the Eagles goals. Canmore was outshot 44-32 on the night with most of the damage coming in the third period when they were outshot by a 21-9 margin.
“We were mentally strong and worked hard for the first two periods but a few mental mistakes cost us in the third period,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “ When you make mental mistakes at this time of the season, it usually comes from physical fatigue and I think that’s what happened to us tonight. We set ourselves up after two periods but didn’t have the horses to finish it off. This is a 60 minute game and when you are as short staffed as we are, it caught up with us.”
Canmore sits in fifth-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings, nine points back of the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons, and just two points ahead of the sixth-place Olds Grizzlys.
The Eagles will now hit the road for their next two games playing the Mustangs in Calgary on Tuesday (Feb 12) and travelling to Drumheller for a tilt with the Dragons on Friday Feb. 15.
Canmore will then return home for a pair of home games next weekend including a rematch with the Okotoks Oilers on Saturday Feb 16 and a holiday Monday (Feb 18) afternoon game against the Olds Grizzlys.