Saturday, September 15, 2012 – For the first time since the 2007-2008 season, the Canmore Eagles have started their regular season home schedule with a victory as they defeated the visiting Whitecourt Wolverines 4-2 in Alberta Junior Hockey League action last night in a game played before 530 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
The Eagles received a three point night from Zack Rassell (one goal and two assists), while Connor Hoekstra (with his third of the season), Steven Phee, and rookie Kyle Pauls had the other Eagle goals.
Recently acquired goaltender Ty Swabb was rock solid in the Eagle net as he stopped 27 of 29 Whitecourt shots to record his first win as an Eagle. The Eagles outshot the Wolverines by a 48-29 count, and enjoyed period leads of 2-0 and 4-0.
With the victory, the Eagles are now 1-1 after two games. Although very early in the season, it is the first time the Eagles have posted a .500 record since 2009-2010.
“I thought the team played very well tonight,” said head coach and general manager Andrew Milne. “We had a great start to the game and our special teams made a big difference for us. We scored three power play goals and our penalty killing only allowed one goal in five opportunities. Our PK guys were committed to blocking shots and we were able to get pucks through to the net when we were on the power play. When we needed Swabb to make a big save for us, he was up to the task.”
The Eagles will have little time to celebrate their first victory of the season as they will get right back at it tonight against the mighty Spruce Grove Saints. Game time, at the Canmore Recreation Centre, is 7 pm.
The Saints, a perennial Northern Division powerhouse, will no doubt be in a foul mood as they dropped a 2-1 shoot-out decision to the Okotoks Oilers last night in Okotoks.
Goaltender Cameron Barnes, who just returned to Canmore following a two-week try-out with the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, is expected to start in net for the Eagles.
NOTEBOOK: The 50-50 draw last night was one of the largest in team history as the pot grew to more than $1410. Eagle fan Bob Collins was the winner of the $705 prize and kindly donated $100 of his winnings back to the club. Thank-you Bob. . . Special thanks to Calgary Flame PA announcer Beesley for doing another outstanding job of performing the PA duties for the Eagle’s home opener for the second year in a row. . . Special thanks also to Shopper’s Drug Mart for their pre-game BBQ and game sponsorship. Scott McLeod’s team raised over $600 in BBQ donations for Canmore’s “Kid’s Sport”. . . Thanks also to Canmore Mayor John Borrowman and new Chief Administrative Officer Lisa de Soto for permforning the ceremonial puck drop prior to the game. . .Bad news on the injury front for the Eagles as promising rookie forward Alex Bechtold is probably lost for the season following ankle/foot surgery last Thursday. Bechtold was injured at the 1:03 mark of the first period in his first AJHL game last Saturday when he fell into the boards in Olds after being hacked down by Grizzly defencemen Chris Stachiw. . .The Eagles have traded the playing rights of Keegan Thompson to the Calgary Mustangs for future considerations. Thompson spent the last two seasons in Canmore scoring seven goals and 11 assists in 97 games played. The Eagles wish to thank Keegan for his efforts here and wish him success in his hockey career with Calgary. . . The Eagle players will be holding a fund-raising Car Wash at Simpson’s Car Wash on Sunday, September 16 from 11 am – 3 pm. All funds raised at the Car Wash will go directly into the player’s “fun” fund. Craig’s Way Station has kindly donated the food for a BBQ at the Car Wash. A big thanks to both Simpson’s Car Wash and Craig’s Way Station for their support.