The Canmore Eagles started their postseason run Sunday night against the rival Camrose Kodiaks at the Edgeworth Centre in Camrose. It is a battle between the 4th and 5th seeds in the AJHL South Division. If Sunday night?s game is any indicator, fans should be treated to a very entertaining series. In a back-and-forth affair, the Eagles took Game 1 of the Best-of-7 series, winning 5-3.
?I thought we played pretty well,? said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. ?We got into some penalty trouble early in the game. It was a tough response. Our Power Play was good. We were in the good spots and well positioned. But our Penalty Kill needs to be better.?
It only took 2:41 into the game for the first goal of the series to be scored. It was Kodiaks Lane Brockhoff cashing in with a Power Play goal. The Eagles though responded with a pair of Power Play goals from Connor Lyons. His first one came at 7:20 when the Eagles were enjoying a 2-man advantage. Zach Carlson and Dylan Witzke assisted. And his 2nd goal came 1:15 later with Alex Young and Witzke assisting. At 15:45, the Kodiaks got back on even terms on a Power Play goal from Erik Miller and the two went back to the locker room tied 2-2.
In the 2nd period, each team traded goals. The Kodiaks took the lead at 1:58 on another Power Play goal, this time from Damon Zimmer. The Eagles then also scored on the man advantage for the 3rd time in the game, Alex Young light the lamp at 10:27. Witzke and Carlson assisted.
The Eagles got the go-ahead goal very early in the 3rd when Lukas Jirousek scored just 15 seconds in. On several occasions in the period, the Kodiaks had good pressure in the Eagles zone and had various opportunities to tie the game, but Eagles goalie Devin Chapman made some great saves to preserve the Eagles lead. Alex Young sealed the Eagles victory with an empty-net goal at 18:33, his 2nd goal of the game. Jared Bowman got the assist.
The Eagles finished the night going 3 for 7 on the Power Play, while the Kodiaks were 3 for 5. The final shots on goal were 38-18 in favour of the Eagles.
Eagles rookie netminder Devin Chapman was making his 1st career AJHL Playoff start. He made 15 saves.
?I thought Devin looked nervous at the start,? said Coach Milne. ?The first shot goes in, it was tough for him. But I thought the 3rd period was his best period and he made some good saves.?
Game 2 is Monday night back in Camrose. Game time is 7 pm. After that, the series will switch to the Canmore Rec Centre for Game 3 on Wednesday night and Game 4 on Thursday night. Puck drop for both games is 7 pm.
?We know that Camrose will respond hard,? said Coach Milne. ?They are a good team. They will be physical and they will be fully prepared.?