The Drayton Valley Thunder were just the tonic needed for the Canmore Eagles to break out of a five-game losing skid.
The Eagles thrashed the Thunder 6-2 in a Friday matinee at the Alberta Junior Hockey League Showcase in Camrose. The noon start time gave little time to rest for both sides which played and lost on Thursday night.
“We are off the sskid, that is the good news,” said Eagles GM and head coach Andrew Milne. “I thought we were good in a lot of areas. Obviously, our offence was producing. Our defence was good.
“I thought Jarell Pinchuk was really good in both our games (in Camrose) and it was good to see. When our defence move the puck up ice [properly] the other team doesn’t get much time in our zone which makes a big difference, and I thought Travis Verveda, Jesse Sheen, (Daly) Hamilton and (Adamu) Tanaka were guys we needed to be good and they were good.”
Nolan Steer scored his first two goals for Canmore with singles from Quinton Ong (4th goal), Pinchuk (1), Colton Young (2) and Jake Ashton (3).
Ong opened the scoring with a power-play goal at just 1:04 of the first period.
Drayton Valley responded with goals on its first two shots on Eagle rookie netminder Logan Dyck. The goals came from Matthew Sparrow (his first in his first game), with the man advantage at 1:34, and Nic Herringer (2), at 4:55.
“After (those two goals) they didn’t get many shots and we took control of the game,” said Milne.
Goals from Steer and Pinchuk, on the power play, in the final four minutes of the period would give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
Young and Ashton, with the Eagles’ third power-play goal of the game, made it 5-2 after the middle frame.
Steer closed out the scoring with five minutes to play in the third period.
For the first time this season, Canmore outshot an opponent, and it was by a wide margin 41-16. It would have been more lopsided had the Thunder not fired four shots on goal in the final minute of the game. In goal for Drayton Valley was Rory Dumelie.
The Eagles finished 3-for-6 on the power play while the Thunder were 0-for-5.
“Our power play was effective and our penalty killing did a real good job,” said Milne.
Canmore is now 3-5-0 on the season. Drayton Valley is now 1-6-0 and last in the North Division.
“I think there are a lot of positives that come out of a game like today,” said Milne. “Regardless of the opponent, they are still an Alberta Junior Hockey League team and our guys needed that understanding that the process works when you do it the right way.
“The result today was important … to show that with a little bit of understanding if we play the right way we can be a good team.”
EAGLES NEST: Canmore has the weekend off, returning to action on Tuesday in Calgary against the Canucks (Ken Bracko Arena at Max Bell Centre, 7 p.m.). … The Eagles next home game is next Friday, Oct. 6 against the Calgary Mustangs followed by the Canucks on Saturday, Oct. 7 (both games at the Canmore Recreation Centre, 7 p.m.)
Photo by: Pam Doyle
For more from Russ at the Crag and Canyon click here