Eagles & Wolverines to play a Game 7

Eagles & Wolverines to play a Game 7

The Canmore Eagles turned the tables on the Whitecourt Wolverines on Sunday (April 7) to force a seventh and deciding game of this Alberta Junior Hockey League semifinal playoff series.

After being shutout in Game 5 in Whitecourt on Friday (April 5), the Eagles won 2-0 at the Canmore Recreation Centre on Sunday afternoon. Goaltender Matthew Malin made 19 saves for his third shutout of the postseason.

You could say this game was decided in the opening 10 seconds. That is how long it took Canmore to score its first goal, which proved to be the game winner. The Eagles won the opening face-off and moved the puck into the Wolverines’ zone, the puck would come to Emmanuel Hudson at the right point, who flipped the biscuit towards goaltender Nicholas Avakyan, who saw it slip past him on his blocker side. It was Hudson’s fourth goal of these playoffs and third in this series. The 2004-born, third year defenceman had just two goals in 56 regular-season games.

A combination of stellar defensive zone play and strong goaltending kept the Wolverines at bay the rest of the way. Canmore outshot Whitecourt 11-2 in the opening period and 29-21 overall.

Ethan Look would make it a two-goal Canmore lead at 13:10 of the opening period. The 2004-born, third year forward raced down the left wing in the Wolverines’ zone after collecting a backhand pass from Logan Ziegler and wired a hard shot, short side over the right shoulder of Avakyan just under the crossbar. For Ziegler it was his 10th assist in 12 playoff games, tops among all AJHL playoff performers.

Look’s night would come to a premature end when he was assessed his third stick infraction penalty seven minutes into the third period; two high sticking penalties and a slashing call in the contest earned him an ejection from the contest.

Whitecourt had six power play goals in this series but would find no reward on its five power plays this game, while Canmore had just one man-advantage opportunity in the contest.

The series will now be decided in a seventh game in Whitecourt on Tuesday, April 9, 7 p.m. at JDA Place. The game can be seen on flosports.tv.

Canmore has been involved in two AJHL semifinal series – 2002 and 2003 – but are looking for their first trip to the league championship series since the franchise’s inception in 1995. Whitecourt began play in the AJHL in 1976 and has only one trip to the AJHL championship series, losing in 2017.

The winner will face the Calgary Canucks for the AJHL championship, with the playoff champion going the Centennial Cup – the national championship tournament – in Oakville, Ont., May 9-19. The Canucks, who came into existence in 1971, last played in a league final in 1997 and were AJHL and Centennial Cup champions in 1995.