Before returning to their home of the Canmore Recreation Centre, the Canmore Eagles entertained their fans in Banff for possibly the final time this season last night. In front of 600 fans at Fenlands Arena, the Eagles picked up their 2nd consecutive win as they knocked off the visiting Olds Grizzlys 6-4. With the win, the Eagles improve their early-season record to 4 wins and 5 losses for 8 points. The Eagles remain in 5th Place in the AJHL South Division, 2 points back of the 4th Place Camrose Kodiaks and 6 points back of the 3rd Place Drumheller Dragons.
The Eagles started the game strong scoring the first 3 goals. It was 20-year-old Forward Owen Reith who got the Eagles on the board at 5:41 of the 1st period with a Power Play goal for his 4th of the season. Dylan Witzke and Alex Young assisted. At 11:08, Defenceman Brent Schuldhaus with his 2nd of the season made it 2-0 Eagles with a shot from the point that found the back of the net. Then at 13:39, right when the Eagles finished killing off a penalty, Michael Spafford caught a nice pass from Lane Paddison on a 2 on 1 and he buried his 2nd goal of the season. Following that goal, Olds Grizzlys starting goalie Duncan Hughes was replaced by Ty Marcinkowski. The Grizzlys found their way on the board at 16:16 when Tyler Pang scored on the Power Play.
In the 2nd period, the Eagles regained their 3-goal advantage, when Captain Tian Rask scored his 3rd goal of the season on the Power Play. Paddison and Finn Withey assisted. At 14:53, the Eagles scored another Power Play marker, this time from Connor Lyons with his team-leading 7th goal of the season. But before the end of the middle frame, the Grizzlys scored a shorthanded goal from Logan Bromhead at 19:18 to make it 5-2 Eagles.
At the 2:28 of the 3rd period, Eagles rookie Defenceman Tayler Miller scored his 1st career AJHL goal to make it 6-2 Eagles. Paddison and Spafford got the assisted.
The Grizzlys would add a pair of goals, including one with only 11 seconds left in the game, but that?s as close as the visitors would get. The shots on goal were 33-32 in favour of the Grizzlys.
?We took control of the game early, but we took a lot of penalties, including some undisciplined ones and it cut our momentum,? said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. ?Fortunately, our penalties didn?t cost us, but it was also a good lesson for our guys. We need to play structural Hockey for 60 minutes.?
Discipline certainly wasn?t an issue for the Eagles in their first 8 games, as they only played shorthanded 29 times for an average of 3.6 times a game. Last night, however, the Eagles played a man short 10 times, which was a season-high.
Between the pipes, it was Devin Chapman who got the call. The 18-year-old rookie netminder from Williams Lake, BC made 29 saves to improve his record to 2-1.
?I thought Devin was good,? said Coach Milne. ?He wished he had one of those 2 goals scored on the power play back and he also scored on himself. But he is learning the league, which is good.?
Before making their long-awaited return to the Canmore Rec Centre, the Eagles will head on the road to play their next 5 games. Their road trip starts with a big challenge on Saturday night when the Eagles take on the AJHL and National defending champions, the Brooks Bandits. Brooks is the only team in the AJHL to remain undefeated with a record of 10-0.
?Obviously they?re good and they are always a challenge,? said Coach Milne. “We need to stick to our game and play our style of Hockey.?
The Eagles? return to the Canmore Rec Centre should be on Wednesday, October 23 when the Drumheller Dragons come to town. Puck is 7 pm.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– After Saturday’s game in Brooks, the Eagles will travel to Calgary to battle the Canucks on Tuesday night. Then next weekend, the Eagles head up North for a 3-game in 3 days road trip with stops in Drayton Valley (Friday, Oct 18), Grande Prairie (Saturday, Oct 19) and Whitecourt (Sunday, Oct 20). The Eagles? 5-game road trip will be their longest of the season.
– Last night, the Eagles welcomed back 20-year-old Forward Finn Withey to the lineup. Withey missed the first 8 games of the season after suffering an injury during a Pre-Season game.
– The Eagles went 3-1 in their games at Fenlands Arena in Banff this season. The Eagles overall record in games played in Banff since the 2014-15 season is 6-3-2.