A third-period blitz gave the Canmore Eagles a 4-3 win over the Camrose Kodiaks on Monday and a sweep of a two-game set at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The two victories – the first being a 4-2 win on Sunday evening – allowed the Eagles to overtake the Kodiaks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division standings. The Eagles are now in fourth place while the Kodiaks, who enjoyed a three-point cushion when play started on New Year's Day, dropped to fifth place.
Canmore overcame a 3-1 third-period deficit to record the win with Logan Ferguson scoring the game winner, batting in a loose puck at the side of the net during a goalmouth scramble, at 14:49. It was the Eagles' third power-play goal of the game.
“We just knew when we came into the third period that if we dug deep and played our systems and outworked them in front of our home crowd we knew we could come back and finish the job,” said Forchuk, who scored twice in the game played before 678 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Camrose took the lead in the first period on a goal by Matt Gervais, just his first as a Kodiak and second all season, and added two more in the second period from Tate Coughlin, his second in as many games and third for the Kodiaks since joining the team seven games ago, and Ryan Hartman, his 12th of the campaign.
Forchuk scored his first of the night in the opening period as the team's went to the locker-rooms tied 1-1 after 20 minutes.
Forchuk's second of the game, and his 19th of the season, started the comeback at 4:27 of the third period. The AJHL scoring leader, now with 56 points, won an offensive-zone faceoff by poking the puck through his opposing centre's skates then regained possession and quickly fired a shot short side on Kodiaks goaltender Patrick Gora to make it a one-goal game.
Byrce Platt got the shaft of his stick on Braden Saretsky's point shot at 5:59 to deflect the puck past the Kodiaks' goaltender to knot the game at 5:59. It was Platt's 11th goal and came on the power play.
Camrose then gave Canmore another crack on the power play, and this time Ferguson fired in the winner, his 22nd goal of the season. Ferguson also had two assists in the game to move his point total to 55 points, second only to Forchuk in the AJHL.
Canmore outshot Camrose 29-18 with Ryan Bontorin again coming up with several big saves to give his team a chance to win.
“That's a character win when you can come back from down 3-1 to a very tight, defensive hockey club,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles GM and head coach, who lauded the defensive efforts of this players in the final moments. “I like the way our guys put in a gritty effort late in the game. [Jesse] Sheen blocks a shot. [Brett] Stewart gets a huge block. Coy [Prevost] makes a big block. Those are the things you have got to do to win hockey games – especially one-goal games.”
Canmore now has won its last four games and is 21-12-4 on the season for 46 points, one ahead of the Camrose Kodiaks (21-15-3) and only two back of the third-place Calgary Canucks (23-12-2).
“I think it is really huge, these two wins, to surpass (Camrose) in the standings,” said Forchuk. “We want to keep moving up and now we have the Canucks in front of us.”
It's now up to the Eagles to make the most of the opportunity they created in leapfrogging the Kodiaks. They head out on the road for their next three games, Friday in Okotoks against the second place Oilers (23-8-5), Saturday in Brooks to take on the division-leading Bandits (28-3-4) and Tuesday in Calgary versus the last-place Mustangs (6-28-2).
EAGLES NEST: Forchuk and Ferguson extended their points scoring streak to eight games each, with Forchuk registering six goals and 12 assists and Ferguson five goals and 11 assists over that stretch. … Canmore was 3-for-6 on the power play while Camrose was shutout in three man-advantage situations they were awarded. … Canmore scratches on Monday were Daylan Marchi and Mitch Zambon for the second straight game. … The Eagles next appearance at the Canmore Recreation Centre will feature another doubleheader weekend with the Brooks Bandits, Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14. Both games are 7 p.m.
Photo by: Pam Doyle Photography