It's beginning to look like a long season for the Canmore Eagles.
The Eagles dropped their fourth AJHL game in a row, losing 5-1 to Drumheller on Tuesday (Sept. 26).
Daniel Fisher scored the lone goal for the Eagles, while goaltender Logan Dyck saw his first start of the season, as the Eagles have begun with a 2-4 record.
“We were good for a good portion of the game. But in the third period, they got a couple of quick goals and we got fragile. We are not strong enough for that right now,” said head coach and general manager Andrew Milne.
“The idea is about the long-term plan to build and develop this group. We are making steps in the right direction.”
The game mirrored last week's match between the two teams, when the Eagles collapsed in the third period after a spate of strong play.
Coupled with the team's 7-0 and 6-3 losses to Okotoks over the weekend, Milne said the challenge is to get the veterans to simplify their game, and young players to play with more intensity.
Both Drumheller and Okotoks iced big, tough lineups, and the Eagles can't play that game at this point in the season. In turn, Milne's setting process-based goals for his players.
“We know we need a positive attitude. Our guys are equally frustrated. They want to win. It's been a challenge. We now have some goal setting opportunities. As long as we are improving, we can build off this. It's about the process,” Milne said.
Goaltending has been the team's strong point thus far, Milne said, while the offence is coming along from Quinton Ong, Coy Prevost, Colton Young and Alex Young.
“Everyone wants to win so badly, and are trying to do too much. Simplifying the game will be the key to success,” Milne said. “Logan Dyck was good in goal. Thomas Davis has played well, so our goaltending is strong.”
The Eagles are now off to Camrose for the annual AJHL showcase. In years past, the Eagles have struggled at the showcase, and will face off against Sherwood Park and Drayton Valley. Milne wants his team to show more tenacity on ice.
“We need to compete harder on loose pucks, everywhere on the ice,” Milne said.
The Eagles are not new to surviving years of growing pains, Milne said, as it can take years of development to create a strong team.
“We've been here before. This is the beast of the AJHL,” Milne said.
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Photo by: Aryn Toombs