PHOTO : Rookie netminder Ryan Ferguson pitched a shutout last night to lead the Eagles to a 1-0 playoff victory over the Kodiaks in Camrose. (Julie Wilson photo)


The date Thursday March 6, 2014 will certainly go down as a GREAT day for Canmore Eagle’s rookie goaltender Ryan Ferguson, and for that matter, the entire Canmore Eagle’s Junior A hockey franchise.
Ferguson, who was named to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s South Division “All League” and “All Rookie” teams earlier in the day, saved his best performance for last as the 18-year-old stopped all 25 Camrose Kodiaks shots to lead his Eagles to a 1-0 shut-out victory over the home-town Camrose Kodiaks in Game One of the opening round of the AJHL’s Southern Division playoffs. The game was played before an announced crowd of 1,001.
The Eagles now lead the best-of-five series 1-0. Game 2 of the series will be played in Camrose on Friday, March 7, before the series shifts to Canmore for Game Three on Sunday, March 9 at 5 PM, and Game Four, if necessary, on Monday, March 10 at 7 PM.
Thursday night’s road victory was the first win for the Eagles in Camrose since Dec. 11, 2008 and ended a streak of 16 consecutive losses to the Kodiaks at Encana Arena. It was also the Eagle’s first playoff win since March 10, 2010 and first shutout on the road since October 23, 2010.
For Ferguson it was his first AJHL playoff game, his first playoff victory, and his first playoff shut-out.
Eagle forward Kurt Hildebrand, another rookie, had the lone Canmore goal on the powerplay at the 3:40 mark of the first period.
With an early one goal lead, the Eagles effectively went into lock down mode and relied on Ferguson to make the big stop when called upon. Ferguson was named as the Eagle’s “Star of the Game” – the 13th time he has won the award this season.
“The game was played exactly like we thought it would as both teams played very hard,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “We had plenty of good chances and created scoring opportunities with our work down low. Our D-men were really good and limited their chances. Lavoie (Jakob) was an absolute warrior tonight. He back-checked to save a sure goal, and blocked countless shots. You need warriors in the playoffs and Lavs was that for us tonight and Fergie (Ryan) was also very solid when tested.”
NOTEBOOK – Eagle defenceman Trey Phillips was also named to the AJHL’s South Division “All League” team during Thursday’s announcement. . . .If you would like to purchase tickets for Sunday’s 5 PM home game in advance, the Eagle’s ticket booth will be open on Saturday from 1-5 PM in the Canmore Recreation Centre. Advanced tickets will also be sold beginning at 12 noon on Sunday . . .After six months of bureaucratic tie-ups, the Eagles have finally received their AGLC Stadium Liquor License. For the first-time ever, Eagle fans will be allowed to take their alcoholic beverages into the stands beginning Sunday afternoon. Cheers to that news!