PHOTO: Despite their elimination from the AJHL playoffs, the Eagles stayed on the ice afterwards to salute their fans who made the trip to Drumheller to cheer on the boys.
The Canmore Eagles, coming off their best regular season since 2002-03, dropped a hard fought 5-2 decision to the Drumheller Dragons on Friday night in Drumheller and have now been officially eliminated from the playoffs, losing the Alberta Junior Hockey League Southern Division semi-final series 4 Games to 1.
The Dragons enjoyed period leads of 1-0, and 3-2, and put the game away with two goals in game’s final five minutes as the Eagles pressed for the equalizer.
Special team play was the again the difference on Friday night as the Dragons scored three times on the powerplay and once while shorthanded.
The loss marked the end of their junior hockey careers for seven 20-year-old Eagle players as Nils Moser, Johnny Stevens, Luke Simpson, Trey Phillips, Jeremy Margeson, Austen Hebert, and Bryan Arneson will not be back for next season.
“Friday’s game was just like all the rest in the series,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club was outshot 35-24. “They capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t. Special teams were obviously huge tonight. But I’m proud of the guys. They fought hard and should be very proud of the effort they put fourth. They never quit and we were in it right to the end.
“The Canmore Eagle franchise accomplished a lot of good things this year. Going forward, we will have a very strong team returning for next season. Although it seems like a long way off right now, I can’t wait for training camp to begin next August.”
Kurt Hildebrand and Luke Simpson had the Eagle goals last night.
The Dragons will now face the Brooks Bandits in the Southern Division finals.