PHOTO: Eagle d-man Trey Phillips had an assist last night to keep his 10-game point streak alive but the Eagles lost 3-2 to Sherwood Park. ( photo courtesy of Julie Wilson)
First the good news – the Canmore Eagles have qualified for the 2013-14 Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs!
The bad news is the Eagles dropped a heart-breaking 3-2 decision to the visiting Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday night before 434 faithful fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre. It was the Eagle’s first loss in regulation time at home since November 8 and put an end to their five-game winning streak.
By defeating the dreaded Drumheller Dragons 3-2 on Friday night, the Eagles did earn a split in their double header home weekend and are now 27-18-3 on the season.
Their 57 points in the Southern Division standings puts the Eagles in a third-place tie with the Okotoks Oilers, two points behind the second-place Drumheller Dragons but just two points ahead of the hard-charging fifth-place Camrose Kodiaks.
The last-place Calgary Canucks, who were blasted 7-1 by the Kodiaks last night, have just 29 points with 13 games remaining on their schedule and can no longer overtake the Eagles in the standings thereby guaranteeing the Eagles a playoff spot come March.
In last night’s loss to Sherwood Park, the Eagles outshot the Crusaders by a wide 42-26 margin, but a powerplay that managed just one goal on 12 opportunities proved to be their undoing.
“After beating Drumheller on Friday night in a very emotional game, we just couldn’t seem to find the same high level of intensity tonight,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club is now 18-5-1 on home ice. “Our powerplay generated a lot of chances throughout the night but lady luck just wasn’t on our side and their goaltender (Tommy Nixon) made some big stops for them. It was just one of those nights when the puck just wouldn’t go in for us. We’ve had an excellent run at home, so we’ll just have to re-group, re-energize and hopefully start another home winning streak next weekend.”
The Eagles received their goals last night from Ryley Risling (4th) and Connor Wilson (11th), while goaltender Ryan Ferguson took the loss dropping his regular season record to 19-9-2.
Canmore is back in action next weekend when the Camrose Kodiaks come to Canmore for a pair of back-to-back games on Friday (Jan. 31) and Saturday (Feb. 1). Both games start at 7 PM.
The Kodiaks have defeated the Eagles three straight times this season (twice in overtime shoot-outs) and these two upcoming games will have a significant impact on which team secures home-ice advantage for the upcoming playoffs. After an uncharacteristic slow start to their season, the Kodiaks are red-hot going 18-4-5 in their last 27 games.
NOTEBOOK: Eagle defenceman Trey Phillips, who was named the Eagle’s “Star of the Game” last night, picked up an assist to stretch his consecutive point streak to 10 games. . . Canmore has just five regular season home games remaining on their schedule.