The Canmore Eagles continued their climb up the Alberta Junior Hockey League Southern Division standings over the past weekend as they took three out of four possible points in a pair of highly entertaining overtime shoot-out games played at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Canmore defeated the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Saturday evening by a 6-5 score in an overtime shoot-out, and picked up a single point as they dropped a heart-breaking 5-4 overtime shoot-out decision to the Bonnyville Pontiacs on Sunday afternoon.
With the three points earned in the standings, Canmore now sits alone in second-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with 22 points and an early season record of 9-4-4.
In Sunday’s 5-4 overtime shoot-out loss to the Pontiacs, the Eagles did the best they could with a depleted lineup. With leading scorer Zack Rassell, goaltender Ty Swabb and defenceman Ashton Mcleod all on the sidelines nursing minor injuries, and head coach Andrew Milne and third-year forward Connor Hoekstra in Calgary attending the Team Canada World Junior A try-out camp, the remaining Eagles gave it their best shot and earned a valuable point in the standings.
“Sure, it was disappointing to lose in overtime, but everyone played their hearts out and did the best they could,” said acting Eagle Head Coach Jeremy Reich. “We were missing a lot of talented hockey players from our lineup, but the rest of team battled hard and we still managed to get a point against a pretty good hockey club. It was a great opportunity for our rookies to get a ton of ice-time and for the most part, they responded well to the challenge. The experience they gained should certainly help us down the road.” 
Steven Phee, with his team leading 12th, Nils Moser (3), Riley Point (6) and Connor Wilson (1) had the Eagle goals in Sunday’s game.
Canmore netminder Cameron Barnes stood tall for the Eagles stopping 37 out of 41 Pontiac shots, but saw his record drop to 4-2-2.
Canmore will play their next three games on the road with stops in Calgary on Tuesday, Oct. 30 against the Mustangs and two straight games in Okotoks on Friday, Nov. 2 and Tuesday, November 6.
Canmore’s next home game is scheduled for Tuesday, November 13 against the Calgary Canucks.
NOTEBOOK: Although the hockey season is still in the early stages, the Canmore Eagles have clearly established themselves as a legitimate contender in the AJHL. In their 17 games to date, Canmore has accomplished the following:
1) The Eagles currently sport a .647 winning percentage – good enough for 3rd-place overall in the 16-team league.
2) The Eagles have defeated all four of the top Northern Division teams beating Whitecout 4-2 (Sept. 14), Spruce Grove 4-1 (Sept. 15), Bonnyville 5-2 (Oct. 19) and Sherwood Park 5-4 (Oct. 27.)
3) The Eagles have won Southern Division road games against the Calgary Canucks (3-2 on Sept. 22) and Drumheller (5-2 on Oct. 21) and taken single points in overtime losses in Okotoks (1-0 on Sept. 26) and Olds (3-2 on Oct. 5).
4) In their eight homes this season, the Eagles have taken 12 out of a possible 16 points and have lost just once in regulation time.
5) The Eagles specialty teams are much improved this season as they have the AJHL’s 6th best powerplay (23 goals in 111 attempts) and the league’s 8th best penalty kill team allowing just 16 goals on 83 penalty kills.