EAGLES TOP GRIZZLYS TO WIN FINAL HOME GAME OF THE REGULAR SEASON
After a lopsided loss to the top team in the country, the Brooks Bandits on Family Day, the Eagles came out determined last night to put that last game behind them and offer a good game of Hockey to the 404 fans in attendance. The Eagles were hosting the Olds Grizzlys for their final home game of the regular season and they were able to send home the fans happy as they dispatched the Grizzlys by a score of 6-4.
The Eagles”™ offence was lead by Forwards Ethan Schaeffer and Isaac Suppin who each had four points on the night. Schaeffer with his team leading 24th goal of the season, gave the Eagles the lead at 9:11 of the opening frame with Suppin assisting. Then just 55 seconds later, it was Suppin from Drae Gardiner and Schaeffer to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. At 15:23, the Eagles extended their lead to three as Riley Dekowny scored his 16th of the campaign with Schaeffer drawing the assist.
In the middle frame, the Eagles continued to control the game with Kyle Young scoring on the power play at 7:23. Suppin and Cale Lyons picked up the assists. The visiting Grizzlys got on the board at 10:59 with a shorthanded goal from Sawyer Senio. But before the end of the period, the Eagles regained their four-goal cushion, as Suppin scored his second of the night and eleventh of the season. Nathan Ellis and Schaeffer assisted.
Early in the third period, the Grizzlys got a power play goal from Hale Schoneck to make it 5-2. But the Eagles once again regained their four-goal lead as Drae Gardiner scored with the man advantage at 13:24, his sixth of the season. Lyons and Young assisted. Late in the game the visitors were able to make it interesting by adding a pair of goals from Kasey Hiemstra at 16:58 and Niklas Gudmundson at 19:46, but as close as they would get as the Eagles picked up their 20th win of the season.
“It was great to get a win in front of a great crowd” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “The timing was also good for some guys to get some offensive confidence”.
The final shots on goal were 44-35 in favour of the Eagles. Andrei Proctor-Ramirez got the start between the pipes and he made 31 saves to improve his record 16-20-6.
The Eagles have two more games to prepare for their upcoming playoff series vs the Camrose Kodiaks. They will have a rematch vs the Grizzlys (8-44-6) in Olds on Friday night, then they will battle the Calgary Canucks (14-39-6) at Ken Bracko Arena on Saturday night to conclude the regular season. The schedule for the Eagles”™ series vs the Camrose Kodiaks has yet to be released, but it is expected to begin on Friday, March 4th in Camrose. Stay tuned.
“We just want to create good habits and stay healthy the next two games” says Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne.
AJHL PLAYOFF RACE
In the South Division, all Playoff round matchups are set. The Brooks Bandits with their league”™s best record of (51-5-2, 104 pts) will get to a enjoy a bye and await their opponents. The second seeded Drumheller Dragons (33-17-8, 74 pts) will take on the seventh seeded Calgary Canucks (14-39-6, 34 pts). The Eagles who will finish sixth (20-29-9, 49 pts) will take on a familiar recent playoff opponent, the third place Camrose Kodiaks (32-24-3, 67 pts). The two teams met in the last AJHL playoffs, two seasons ago now. When the Kodiaks got the best of the Eagles in a tight and entertaining 7-game series, before the entire world shut down due to Covid-19. The other matchup in the South will feature the Okotoks Oilers (27-27-4, 58 pts) and the Blackfalds Bulldogs (27-30-1, 55 pts). The two teams though still have to decide on who will get home ice advantage. And ironically the two teams are battling each other in a home-and-home series this week
In the North Division, it”™s a different story as no first round matchups are set yet. There are seeds that are already determined though. The Spruce Grove Saints (44-9-5, 93 pts) will finish first and enjoy a first round bye. The Sherwood Park Crusaders (25-30-5, 55 pts) who were the first team to complete their regular season schedule on Monday will finish seventh and play the team that will finish in second, which will either be the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (39-19-1, 79 pts) or the Bonnyville Pontiacs (35-15-8, 78 pts). The Grande Prairie Storm (22-29-7, 51 pts) who are having an amazing finish to their season and are among the hottest team in the league having won their last eight games will be the team on the outside looking in of the playoffs. The Drayton Valley Thunder (31-16-10, 72 pts) will finish in fourth place and will take on either the Lloydminster Bobcats (30-24-4, 64 pts) or the Whitecourt Wolverines (28-25-5, 61 pts).