The Canmore Eagles received a frigid reception during their Alberta Junior Hockey League road trip to the northwest of the province. Canmore lost all three games played over three days and are on a five-game losing streak (0-5-1-0). The Eagles are in 14th place with an overall 4-9-1-1 record.
In addition to losing the games, the Eagles are currently without goaltender Matthew Malin, who had to be withdrawn midway through the team’s first game on this trip after suffering concussive-type symptoms. He is listed as week-to-week but could be ready for action again when the Eagles resume AJHL play on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Eagles added another major junior player to its roster prior to the road trip with an immediate impact. Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell scored goals in two of the three games since making the move from the Kamloops Blazers. The Delta Hockey Academy graduate played the past two seasons with the Blazers but only made one appearance this campaign. In 67 WHL games, the now 19-year-old forward had one goal and 4 four assists.
Eagles 1 at Storm 6
MacPherson-Ridgewell endeared himself with his new teammates with his first goal at 5:30 of the third period. The Tsawwassen, B.C. local found himself alone in the high slot and redirected a Brody Mortensen point shot into the ice with the puck bouncing over the Storm goaltender Nicholas Jones’s left pad and into the far corner in this Friday (Nov. 20) matinee in Grande Prairie
Tomis Marinkovic’s hat trick propelled the Storm to victory. He would score once in the first period and twice more in the second period as the Storm built a 5-0 lead through 40 minutes. Singles from Dayne Tews in the first period, Peter Copetti in the second period and Tyler Dale in the third period rounded out the home team’s goal scorers.
Canmore outshot Grande Prairie 27-26 with Malin who started for the Eagles and was lifted midway through the game for injury protocol after being unable to fully recover from a first-period collision. He surrendered four goals on 12 shots. John MacPherson made 12 saves on 14 shots in the back half of the game.
On the power play, Canmore was 0-for-6 while Grande Prairie was 2-for-3.
Eagles 1 at Wolverines 6
Logan Ziegler scored the lone Canmore goal in the loss in Whitecourt on Saturday (Oct. 21). Emanuel Hudson, pinching in from the right point forced a turnover deep in the Wolverines’ zone. Ziegler pounced on the puck and fired it low, far side from the right wing, face-off hash marks for his fourth goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1 at 10:53.
Six different players scored for Whitecourt with two goals in each period. Jarred Feist and Kaiden Wiltsie bookended Ziegler’s first-period marker. Joey Melo and Jonah Bevington scored in the second period. Nathaniel Bannister and Spencer Rheaume scored in the third period.
Whitecourt outshot Canmore 33-26 with MacPherson in goal for the Eagles and Lukas Renaud in goal for the Wolverines.
On the power play, Canmore was 0-6 and Whitecourt 1-for-5.
Eagles 2 at Thunder 4
In Drayton Valley on Sunday (Oct. 22) afternoon, the Thunder scored three goals in the third period to pull out the victory. Eagles’ goal scorers from each of the two previous games on this road trip would add to their season totals.
After the home side had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period, Canmore scored the only two goals of the second period giving the team its first lead in an AJHL game since its last win on Oct. 8, 3-2 over the Camrose Kodiaks, six games ago.
Ziegler upped his season total to five at 1:26. The work during this 4-on-4 scenario began just inside the Eagles’ blue line where Ethan Look blocked a cross-ice pass, then at the Wolverines’ blue line he collected the puck from Hudson and fed a streaking Ziegler, who wired a quick shot from the top of the right wing, face-off circle that went high, far side and past the Thunder goaltender.
MacPherson-Ridgewell scored on the power play, snapping a 0-for-25 streak over 6 games with the man advantage. It is also the only power-play goal given up by the Drayton Valley in six homes games – 30 chances – this season. The newest Eagle collected a pass from Zach Coutu just inside the Thunder blue line, stickhandled around one defender and from the high slot, delivered the puck high, short side on the goaltender for a 2-1 lead 10:19 of the period.
The lead would stand until 1:06 of the third period when the first of two Jack Plandowski goals put the Thunder back on equal terms. Goals by Alexey Trischuk and then Plandowski had the home side pulling away for the victory. Adam Grenier scored in the first period for Drayton Valley.
Drayton Valley outshot Canmore 36-33 with MacPherson in goal for the Eagles and Cameron Doucette in goal for the Thunder.
On the power play, Canmore was 1-for-6 and Drayton Valley went 2-for-4.
These two teams will meet again Friday, Oct. 27 in Canmore as the Eagles close out October with a pair of homes games. The second is against the Lloydminster Bobcats on Saturday, Oct. 28. Games times at the Canmore Recreation Centre are 7 p.m.
The overall AJHL standings find the Blackfalds Bulldogs, Brooks Bandits and Sherwood Park Crusaders are tied at 26 points with identical 13 wins and 2 losses records. While at the other end of the table, Drayton Valley (4-9-0-0) is on 8 points and the Olds Grizzlys (2-10-2-0) have 6 points as play enters the final week of October. Canmore has 10 points.