EAGLES TAKE DOWN KODIAKS TO EVEN THE SERIES
Just like the last time the two teams met in the playoffs two years ago, it”™s been an exciting series between the Canmore Eagles and the Camrose Kodiaks. Tonight was Game four and in front of 580 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre, the Eagles made the series very interesting as they edged the visiting Kodiaks 3-2 to even the Best-of-seven series at two games apiece.
“I thought we got a little bit of puck luck. Some things went our way and we were able to execute. Obviously the special teams were good, we got the goal on the power play to start and that gave us some confidence. Throughout the game we just built off that and obviously when it came down to it, we bent a little bit in the second. They put some heat on us late in the third, I thought our guys responded and were great” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne.
One player who was absolutely outstanding in the victory was 19-year old Forward Riley Dekowny who contributed to all three Eagles goals, including scoring twice.
“We came out flying there at the start” says Dekowny after the game”. “We got that five minute power play and it really helped us get going. Then in the second, we kind of dipped, but we didn”™t break, which was great. They pushed and we kept coming. In the third, we came out and we wanted to keep going. We didn”™t want to sit back and watch. It was a great win for everyone.”
Only 30 seconds into the game, the Eagles were awarded a five-minute powerplay as Forward Ethan Schaeffer received a bad hit along the boards from Kodiaks Defenceman Graydon Gotaas. He received a major and game misconduct. It didn”™t take long for the Eagles to make the Kodiaks pay as at the 48 second mark, 20 year-old Defenceman Cale Lyons scored with a blast from the point. Vincent Scott and Dekowny assisted. That early goal ended up being the only goal of the opening frame.
In the second period, Dekowny got his first of the game at 4:29 on a 2-on-1 as he received a pass from Scott to make it 2-0 Eagles. At 10:23, the Kodiaks got on the board on a goal from Defenceman Blake Kondor to cut the Eagles”™ lead in half. That goal certainly gave the visitors a lot of energy as they controlled the puck in the Eagles offensive zone many times for the rest of the period, but Proctor-Ramirez and the Eagles were able to keep the Kodiaks at bay to keep the score 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Early in the third period, the Eagles took advantage of a turnover in the Kodiaks”™ zone to restore their two-goal lead as Dekowny got his second of the night Mitchell Watson drawing the assist 23 seconds in. With under three minutes left in regulation after calling their timeout and pulling their goalie for an extra attacker, the Kodiaks made it a one-goal game with Carson Whyte getting the goal with 2:40 left. Then with under two minutes left, the Kodiaks again pulled their goalie and put some heat in the Eagles”™ zone looking for the equalizer, but the Eagles were able to hold to pick up a big win.
Final shots on goal were 36-25 in favour of Camrose. Andrei Proctor-Ramirez made 34 stops. On special teams, the Eagles went 1 for 5 on the power play and the penalty kill was perfect as they kill off all five Kodiak”™s power play chances.
The series now goes back to the Encana Arena in Camrose on Friday night for Game 5. Then on Sunday afternoon, it will be Game 6 back at the Canmore Recreation Centre. Puck drop is 2 pm. If a decisive Game 7 is needed, it will be held in Camrose on Tuesday night.
“We are going to play the same way, we are all well aware of what it will takes to win after tonights win” says Coach Milne regarding the upcoming Game 5. “We know it”™s not going be easy, it”™s a Best-of-three now, two on the road. So we”™re just going to compete and lay it on the line and do what we did tonight”.
AROUND THE AJHL PLAYOFFS: One series wrapped up tonight as the Okotoks Oilers took Game four 2-1 to sweep the Blackfalds Bulldogs in four straight games and become the first team playing in the first round to punch their ticket for Round two. In the other South Division series, the surprising Calgary Canucks evened their series at two games apiece after a 2-1 Overtime win over the Drumheller Dragons in Game 4.
In the North Division, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons have taken a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Sherwood Park Crusaders after a 4-0 win in Game 4. The Barons have won 3 straight after dropping the series opener in overtime. The Drayton Valley have also put their opponent on the ropes as they took down the Lloydminster Bobcasts 5-2 in Game 4. And finally, the Bonnyville Pontiacs who were favoured in their series vs the lower seeded Whitecourt Wolverines have their back against the wall they fell by a score of 4-2. Whitecourt leads the series 3 games to 1.
Game 5 for all the series remaining are on Friday night with the exception of the Canucks-Dragons series that has their Game 5 scheduled on Saturday night.