After playing a wild back-and-forth game that featured a lot of goals and penalties on Friday night in Olds, the Grizzlys and the Canmore Eagles were back on the Canmore Rec Centre ice for the back end of a Home-and-Home series. This time the Eagles were in control for most of the game as they won the contest by a score of 5-1 to sweep the series over their South Division rivals. The win allows the Eagles to move within 7 points of the Camrose Kodiaks for 4th in the AJHL South Division after Camrose lost their game to Whitecourt 3-2 Saturday night. The 4th place position is the last spot to get home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
?I thought the guys were really good tonight,? said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. ?We came out hard in the 1st period, we had tons of chances, but we couldn?t get pucks past the goalie. We played hard the whole game.?
Despite the Eagles getting a lot of good scoring chances, it was the visiting Grizzlys getting first on the board as their Captain Hunter Floris scored a Shorthanded goal on a partial breakaway at 15:48 of the opening frame. But the Eagles answered back just 1:04 later, with Zach Carlson scoring on his own rebound, a Power Play goal and his 14th of the season. Alex Young and Connor Lyons assisted.
In the 2nd period, the Eagles took control of the game with Forward Tye Carriere, who joined the team last week after being released by the WHL Calgary Hitmen, scored his 1st goal as an Eagle, another Power Play goal at 2:38. Ethan Schaeffer and Drae Gardiner picked up the assists. Then at 12:26, Alex Young scored his 28th goal of the season with Lyons and Carlson assisting. The Eagles took a 3-goal lead as Banffite Kazu Prevost completed a nice 2-on-1 play with Tristan Zandee for his 5th of the season.
Only one goal was scored in the final frame and it came from Forward Lukas Jirousek with his 2nd goal in as many nights and 8th of the season.
Coach Milne who was busy dealing last week prior to the trade deadline really likes what he is seeing so far from his newly acquired players saying, ?I think they are fitting nicely. Tye Carriere is getting some confidence. He didn?t get to touch the puck much with the Calgary Hitmen. Lukas Jirousek is getting good. Cameron Chin and Zach Cunningham are moving the puck well.”
Between the pipes, it was rookie netminder Devin Chapman getting the call and he made 26 saves on 27 shots to improve his record to 7-10.
The Eagles now get a week of practice in preparation for a big test as their next game is on Friday, January 24 when the Okotoks Oilers (35-6-3) come to town. Puck drop is 7 pm. The Oilers are on a 7-game winning streak and are only 4 points back of the Brooks Bandits for top spot in the South Division.
?We?re gonna have to play a complete 60-minute game,? said Coach Milne.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– The Eagles have won 4 of their last 5 games. The Eagles record in the month of January is 5-3.
– With Saturday night’s win, the Eagles have officially clinched a playoff spot for the 23rd time on their 25th anniversary. With only 12 games left to play in the regular season, the Eagles are trying to get the best possible seed. The Eagles will close out their regular season on February 25 and the first round of the playoffs is scheduled to start in the first week of March.