PHOTO: The 2014-15 Canmore Eagle’s season came to an end on Sunday night as the Okotoks Oilers came away with a 3-2 overtime victory to knock the Eagles out of the playoffs. (Julie Wilson photo)
The Canmore Eagles season came to a sudden end on Sunday night as the Okotoks Oilers scored at the 17:59 minute mark of sudden-death overtime to defeat the Eagles 3-2 and win their best-of-five Alberta Junior Hockey League Southern Division opening round playoff series 3 -0.
The Eagles, playing before a hometown crowd of 510 fans, gave it everything they could muster and certainly came through with their best performances of the season but it wasn’t enough as they lost all three playoff games by just a single goal. The Eagles also lost 2-1 in Game One, and 3-2 in Game 2 in Okotoks earlier in the week.
Lane Olson, with his third goal of the series, and Joe Serpico had the Eagle goals in Game 3.
As was the case during the first two games played in Okotoks, Oiler’s netminder Nick Reynard was the big difference in Game 3 as the AJHL’s Most Valuable Player continually stonewalled the Eagles offence at every opportunity and never surrendered a weak goal.
“I thought we played our best hockey games of the year in this series,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club outshot the Oilers 39-34 in the final game. “It’s very disappointing and I feel for the guys. I think at the end of the series, we were the better team, but they have a goaltender with a boatload of confidence and that’s what carried them.”
Eagle captain Connor Wilson, who led the team in scoring during the regular season, was also bitterly disappointed with the final outcome.
“We definitely deserved a better fate,” said Wilson afterwards. “Game One could have gone either way, and I think we definitely deserved to win Game 2. In Game 3, we put it all on the line but once again, we ran into a hot goaltender. He won the series for them. I think we outplayed them and out-chanced them throughout the series, but unfortunately they got the W’s.”
The loss also marked the end of their junior hockey careers for six 20-year-old Eagles as Jeremy Gordon (213 Games), Nikolas Kosman (198 Games), Simon Philp (193 Games), Joe Serpico (192 Games), Jordan Revie (175 Games), and Reid Wilson (131 Games) have all played their last games.
With their series victory over Canmore, Okotoks will now face the Brooks Bandits in one Southern Division semi-final, with the Drumheller Dragons going up against the Camrose Kodiaks in the other semi-final. The Bandits swept the Calgary Mustangs 3-0 in their opening round series, while the Dragons also swept the Olds Grizzlys 3-0 in their series.