By Russ Ullyot – courtesy of Crag and Canyon
A weekend split with the Olds Grizzlys didn’t benefit the Canmore Eagles.
In a Friday-Saturday doubleheader between these two Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division rivals, the visiting sides won 3-2.
On Saturday in Canmore, Olds skated out to a 3-1 lead and weathered a third-period storm of Eagles shots to regain the three-point edge in the standings they held prior to Friday’s game.
“After Friday night's win, it was very disappointing,” said Eagles captain Connor Wilson. “We talked about before the game coming out in the first period, but as you saw tonight I guess we weren’t mentally focused in the room. A little arrogant you might call it.
“There is no reason for us to be arrogant, we have not earned it at all. We say in the room we haven’t earned respect in this league. We showed tonight we are far away (from that), but we are close, if that makes sense.”
Canmore stays in sixth place in the South Division with a record of 22 wins, 24 losses and one shootout defeat for 45 points. Olds is 21-20-6 for 48 points.
Eagles head coach Andrew Milne was quick to point out that the defence did not do its part on Saturday night.
“Collectively, that was the worst game I have seen our defence play this year. They played awful,” said Milne.
“Our D couldn’t make a pass to get out of our end, they couldn’t get a shot through, they made poor pinches, they did not put us in good spots.”
Scoring for Olds were Tyler Mappin, Landon Kletke and Sean Richards, all off of mistakes made by the Eagles.
Scoring for Canmore, who were playing before 440 fans at the Canmore Rec Centre, were Nik Kosman and Adam Tisdale.
The shots were 41-40 for Canmore at night’s end. In goal for Canmore was Ryan Ferguson. In goal for Olds was Jesse Gordichuk. Both also were between the pipes on Friday night.
Much like Friday night in Olds, the Eagles got off to a fast start and the Grizzlys were quick to reply.
It was a defenceman that scored Canmore’s first goal. Nik Kosman scored 2:31 into the game to give the homeside a 1-0 lead. His fifth goal of the season when he denied an Olds clearance and then stepped into the slot and let a wrist shot go that beat Gordichuck.
Olds replied at 3:24 off a breakdown by Canmore in its own end. Jade McMullen grabbed the puck and the opportunistic Mappin quickly jumped to the open side of goal and on the feed had a tap-in for the tying goal. It was Mappin’s 11th goal of the season.
A steal at the Grizzlys blue line by Kletke led to his having a breakaway with a quick, low wrist shot to Ferguson’s left beating the goaltender to make it 2-1 Olds at 6:41. It was Kletke’s 17th goal of this campaign.
That would be the extent of the scoring in the opening period as each team fired 14 shots on goal.
Olds dominated the second period but it would take their 15th of 18 shots in the period to score for third time in this game. Hard work along the boards in the Eagles’ zone led to Richards emerging with the puck shrugging off a pair of checkers and firing a long wrist shot through a screen that eluded the Eagles’ netminder. The goal came at 13:26 and was the Richards’ fifth of the season.
Olds also killed off a one-minute long two-man shorthanded situation in the period.
The Eagles got some renewed life from its fourth line early in the period. Reid Wilson won a faceoff in the Grizzlys’ zone with the puck cycling in behind the goal. He then fed midget call-up Adam Tisdale in the slot, who fired the puck over Gordichuk’s blocker to make it a 3-2 game at 3:09. It was Tisdale’s second goal in his third appearance for his hometown team.
It was not for lack of chances in the third period, in which Canmore recorded 15 shots on goal, that the Eagles didn’t tie this game or even win the weekend set but the lack of finish around the goal as many of the chances went wide of their intended mark.
“It was very frustrating throughout the game, as our shots were often high and wide,” said Wilson, who saw his five-game scoring streak snapped. “In recent games we have being putting shots on goal on the ice, hitting pads and getting second chances.
“When you miss high and wide, guys get frustrated, selfishness starts to creep in and it never works.”
Next up for Canmore is another weekend home-and-home set, this one with the Okotoks Oilers, 28-13-5 and third in the South.
EAGLES NEST: Tisdale was called up from his Calgary Northstars midget AAA squad to fill out the forward lines with Kurt Hildebrand unable to go. Also not suiting up for the Eagles were Matt Forchuk, Mackenzie Watson and Noah Philp. … The two best power plays in the league combined to go 1 for 17 over the two games: Olds was 1 for 10 and the Eagles were scoreless on seven chances. … Six of the Eagles next seven games are on the road, with five of their final six final regular-season games on home ice.