PHOTO: Ryley Risling picked up his team-leading 22nd and 23rd goals of the season last night to lead the Eagles to a 4-3 road victory over the Bonnyville Pontiacs. (Julie Wilson file photo)
The Canmore Eagles started their Alberta Junior Hockey League northern road trip on Friday night with a big come from behind victory downing the hometown Bonnyville Pontiacs 4-3 in an overtime shootout.
After being down 2-0 after the first five minutes of the game and trailing 3-1 midway through the second period, the Eagles showed great grit and determination to make the comeback and improve their overall record to 23-25-2.
With the victory, the sixth-place Eagles now have 48 points in the AJHL Southern Division standings and trail the fifth-place Olds Grizzlys by four points. The Eagles have also played two less games than Olds.
Eagles' leading goal scorer Ryley Risling scored a pair of goals (22 & 23), while rookie Matt Forchuk picked up his 10th goal of the season to round out the scoring for the Eagles in regulation time.
Veteran forward Joe Serpico scored the shoot-out winner in the 6th round and was the only player from either team to score a goal. Eagle captain Connor Wilson was a force all night and picked up assists on all three Eagle goals.
Despite a shaky start to the game, Canmore goaltender Ryan Ferguson found his form from last season and was instrumental in the Eagle victory stopping all but three of the 32 Bonnyville shots directed his way. With the game on the line, Ferguson was flawless throughout the third period, overtime, and shoot-out. The final shots on goal were 32-29 in favour of the Pontiacs.
The Eagles current five game road trip continues Saturday night with Canmore travelling to Lloydminster to face the Bobcats (27-18-7). Game time is 7:30 pm.
ICE CHIPS: Friday night’s victory marked the first time that the Eagles have won a game in a shootout since October 26 2013 – a 4-3 home win over the Brooks Bandits. The Eagles were winless in their previous three games that were decided by a shootout. . . With his three assists last night, Eagles' Captain Connor Wilson sits in 5th place in the AJHL scoring parade with 55 points…With his two goal performance last night, Ryley Risling was named the Eagle’s “Star of the Game”. With 23 goals this season, Risling sits in fourth-place for goal scoring in the AJHL this season . . . Last night’s victory was the Eagles' first win over Bonnyville since Oct. 19 2012 and snapped a five-game losing streak against the Pontiacs. The victory was only the second time that the Eagles have picked up a victory in Bonnyville since the 2004-05 season.