In front of 522 fans in attendance for the Eagles? final regular-season game, the Eagles hosted one of the best teams in Canada and the South Division champions, the Okotoks Oilers for one final game before the playoffs. It was the visiting Oilers who would take the win, by a score of 4-1. The Eagles finish the regular season in 5th Place in the AJHL South Division with a record of 23-31-4 for 50 points.
?I thought both teams had a lack of emotion,? said Eagles Assistant Coach and Assistant General Manager Evan McFeeters who was the acting Head Coach for last night?s game. ?Both teams were looking forward to play Game 1 of the playoffs, so the play was sporadic and ugly at times.?
In the 1st period, the visiting Oilers scored a pair of goals. The first came from Gibb Coady at 8:21 and the second one was from Carson Dyck at 10:48.
Only one goal was scored in the middle frame and it was Liam Freeborn who found the twine at 19:41.
In the 3rd period, the Eagles got on the board with a Power Play goal from Zach Carlson, his 20th of the season. Connor Lyons and Michael Spafford got the assists. Oilers’ top scorer Jack Works added an empty net goal to seal the victory for Okotoks.
Eagles rookie netminder Devin Chapman got the start between the pipes making 32 saves on 35 shots.
Now that the 58-game regular-season schedule is in the rearview mirror, the Eagles can look ahead at their 1st Round opponent, the 4th place Camrose Kodiaks (31-24-3) in a Best-of-7 series. The series will begin in Camrose on Sunday for a 6 pm start. Game 2 will be the following night in Camrose, before the series switches to the Canmore Rec Centre for Game 3 on Wednesday, March 4 and Game 4 on Thursday, March 5.
?I like our group,? said Coach McFeeters. We are a deeper team and a better skating team than at the start of the season. We like the group that we?ve assembled. Our leadership core knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. They went through it last year against Drumheller with 4 games going to Overtime and it went all the way down to the final shot of the decisive game.?
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
– The Eagles have 15 players with previous Playoff experience at the Junior level, including 7 who were a part of the Eagles? exciting playoff run last March.
– The Eagles will face the Camrose Kodiaks in the playoffs for the 5th time in franchise history. The Kodiaks won the first 3 series between the two teams, but the Eagles won the most recent series, which was in 2014, when the Eagles eliminated the Kodiaks in the opening round, 3 games to 1.
– All the matchups of the 1st Round are now set. In the South, the other series will feature the 3rd place Drumheller Dragons against the 6th Place Olds Grizzlys. The Okotoks Oilers and the 2nd Place Brooks Bandits have a first-round bye. In the North, the Sherwood Park Crusaders will finish at the top of the division will get a first-round bye. The first-round matchups will feature the 2nd place Spruce Grove Saints vs the 7th place Grande Prairie Storm, the 3rd place Whitecourt Wolverines vs the 6th place Fort McMurray Oil Barons. The final series will feature the 4th place Bonnyville Pontiacs who will take on the 5th Place Drayton Valley Thunder.