With the Best-of-7 series tied at 2 games apiece between the Canmore Eagles and the Camrose Kodiaks, the series shifted to the Camrose Recreation Centre for Game 5. A tough first period proved costly for the Eagles, as the Kodiaks picked up a 7-4 win to take a 3 games to 2 lead in the series, which means the Eagles are now facing elimination.
?The popular term in Hockey right now is to start on time, we definitely didn?t,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “We didn?t start well and it cost us. We were a better team after. The last 50 minutes, we were good, but the first 10, we were horrendous and it cost us the Hockey game. We were soft, we were slow, we were lazy, we were arrogant.?
The first goal of the game came 1:03 into the 1st period with Kodiaks Forward Erik Miller scoring. The Eagles though answered back only 1:08 later on a goal from Cam Sterling with Kazu Prevost assisting. It didn?t take long for the Kodiaks to regain the lead with Robert Kincaid scoring at 3:06. Then at 7:10, Carson Welke scored to make it 3-1 Kodiaks. And only 40 seconds later, it was Kodiaks player Carson Kurylo scoring, which had Coach Milne call his timeout. The timeout seemed to allow the Eagles to settle down and to get back in the game, as at the 13:03 mark, Cam Sterling scored his 2nd of the game and 2nd of the Playoffs to cut the Kodiaks lead at two. Dylan Witzke and Tristan Zandee assisted.
Early in the middle frame, the Eagles got within one with Alex Young pouncing on a rebound for his 4th of the Playoffs. Zach Carlson and Connor Lyons assisted. At 12:53, the Kodiaks scored a Power Play goal from their top scorer Cody Laskosky. Before the end of the period, the Eagles were able to get back within one, as Zach Carlson tipped in a point shot from Cale Lyons for his 2nd goal of the playoffs.
In the 3rd period, the Eagles had good opportunities to get the equalizer but were unable to beat Kodiaks netminder Griffin Bowerman. In the last minute of the game, the Eagles pulled netminder Kadin Kilpatrick for an extra attacker twice, but both times the Kodiaks were able to get an empty goal with Damon Zimmer and Carson Kurylo scoring to seal a 7-4 win for the Kodiaks.
Coach Milne was pleased with the work of his 4th line of Kazu Prevost, Cam Sterling and Tristan Zandee saying, ?I thought they were awesome. Kazu made a great play down and Cam was working his butt off tonight. I thought they were good, but at the end of the day, you can?t just rely on one line. You need a whole group of guys and we need to be better top to bottom. The good thing is we are going back to our building and the guys are not happy with the way they played tonight.?
Between the pipes, Kadin Kilpatrick got the start for the 2nd straight game and he made 25 saves on 30 shots. The final shots on goal were 37-32 for the Eagles.
The series is now headed back to the Canmore Rec Centre for Game 6 on Monday night. Puck drop is 7 pm. If the Eagles win to force a decisive Game 7, it will be played in Camrose on Wednesday at 7 pm.
The Eagles find themselves in a similar situation as in their 1st Round Playoffs series of last year against the Drumheller Dragons. The Eagles were on the brink of elimination, down 2 games to 1 in the Best-of-5 series, but were able to stave off elimination by winning Game 4 at home and then advance to Round 2 by winning the decisive Game 5 in Drumheller.
Eagles Captain Connor Lyons is among the seven players who are part of that comeback series win over Drumheller and he is certainly confident that this team can accomplish the same thing as last year?s team.
?I think we’ve got a lot of guys in the room who should be confident in the game,? said Lyons. ?I mean we played two do-or-die games vs Drumheller, they were probably our 2 best games of the year. So we?re going to have to get those guys who played in those games last year to be good leaders on Monday here. We?re gonna come out strong.?
AROUND THE AJHL:
The Drumheller Dragons were the first team to advance to round two last night as they defeated the Olds Grizzlys 8-1 to win their series 4 games to 1. The Dragons will now take on the Brooks Bandits in round two. The 2nd seeded Bandits enjoyed a first-round bye. With that 2nd round matchup setup, it means that the winner of the series between the Eagles and the Kodiaks will take on the 1st seeded Okotoks Oilers who also had a 1st round bye.
In the North, the pesky and 7th seeded Grande Prairie Storm continued to give fits to the highly favoured and 2nd seeded Spruce Grove as they pushed the Saints to triple Overtime, but it was the Saints who had the last laugh, winning the game 4-3, to take a 3 games to 2 lead in the series.
Another game that saw Overtime Saturday night was the Drayton Valley Thunder winning 3-2 over the Bonnyville Pontiacs, which allows the Thunder to take a 3-2 series lead. Unlike the Saints, it only took 3:44 of Overtime for the Thunder to end the contest. All 5 games of this series have been won by the road team.
And finally, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons were able to stave off elimination for the 2nd time as they defeated the Whitecourt Wolverines 3-0 on the road. The series is now 3-2 for Whitecourt.
Game 6 of all series in the North are on Monday night.