Eagles take down Grizzlys

A day after being a healthy scratch, Jake Ashton gave his season-best performance in helping the Canmore Eagles to a 5-1 win over the Olds Grizzlys.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League game also featured the home debut of the Eagles backup netminder Thomas Davis who came within 3:34 of recording a shutout.

A season-high 535 fans took in the game at the Canmore Recreation Centre as the Eagles ended a mini-slump of two losses.

Looking for a bounce back after a 4-1 home-ice loss on Friday to the Brooks Bandits, the Eagles had some early luck in this game.

“I thought we responded with a good start [Saturday] after Friday night,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles GM and head coach. “I thought last night we didn’t start the game well and it caught up to us by the end of the game. Tonight we started well and it was the reason we were able to be successful.”

Jake Ashton, on a backhand, scored at 3:20 then Coy Prevost stuffed the puck in at the right post just 20 seconds later. It was Canmore’s first two shots on goal against Olds starting goaltender Ben Griesbrecht, who looked out of sorts on both plays.

It was Ashton’s first goal of the season and Prevost’s ninth goal.

Ashton also had two assists on the night.

“It was good to get that first [goal] out of the way,” said Ashton, who was appearing in his 17th game of the season. “It is something that has to improve … it’s nice to get it going.”

The usually reliable goaltender, who came in sporting a .912 save-percentage was pulled after the second goal in favour of rookie backup Andrew Henderson, who faced an onslaught of Canmore shots.

The Eagles would outshoot the Grizzlys 45-30.

At the other end of the ice, Davis looked poised and confident and only some undisciplined play by his teammates led to him losing a bid for what would have been his first junior A shutout.

“I thought he was calm and cool,” said Milne. “He has been here for a while doing all the right things, putting in the work, and so I am happy to see him rewarded.”

Davis was pleased with his own performance after a fairly nervous start to the season.

I felt a lot better than my last game in Grande Prairie [a 4-3 shootout win, Oct. 28]. I was so nervous last game I couldn’t even move,” said Davis. [Saturday night] the boys really helped me by keeping the shooters to the outside. I’ll I had to do was glove [the pucks] down. They were making it easy for me.”

Daly Hamilton, with his second goal of the season, would give the Eagles a 3-0 lead before the first period ended.

Kyle Pauls, another Eagle recording his first goal of the season, made it 4-0 after 40 minutes.

Braden Saretsky scored his 11th goal, coming on the power play, early in the third period to make it 5-0.

Then with Olds holding a man advantage, Austin Holmes scored at 16:26 to end Davis’s shutout bid.

Canmore is now 11-7-3 but remains tied for fourth place in the South Division with the Camrose Kodiaks (12-9-1). The Kodiaks, who have played one more game then the Eagles, defeated the Grande Prairie Storm 5-1.

Canmore’s next game is against South co-leaders Calgary Canucks (16-6-1) on Tuesday, 7 p.m., Canmore Recreation Centre.

EAGLES NEST: Canmore scratches were Colton Young and Evan Katelnikoff. … The Eagles were 1-for-5 on the power play. The Grizzlys were 1-for-7 on the power play. … Eagles defence man Jarell Pinchuk saw his night end early after taking a third stick infraction penalty that led to Olds power-play goal. … Eagle Bryce Platt engaged in his first AJHL fight taking on Grizzly Austin Pickford. A heavyweight bout that Platt won decisively. … Davis has won both his starts for the Eagles.


For more from Russ at the Crag and Canyon: http://www.thecragandcanyon.ca/2016/11/13/eagles-take-down-grizzlys

Photo by: Pam Doyle