Head-scratching weekend

Photo Credit Sei Spo Press

Head-scratching weekend

This year’s edition of the Canmore Eagles really can leave you baffled.

Take this weekend, Canmore won just one of three games it played, putting together a top-notch defensive display to defeat one of the most talented offensive clubs in the Alberta Junior Hockey League but book ending it by giving up 15 goals in two losses against two of the league’s most anemic offences.

Let’s start with the best of the weekend, a 4-2 victory over the Pontiacs in Bonnyville on Friday (Jan. 6). The Pontiacs have the third-best offence in the league behind the South-leading Brooks Bandits and North-leading Spruce Grove Saints and hold onto third place in the North Division. It would be the Eagles though that would bring out the heavy hammer, nailing the win with a three-goal third period.

Bonnyville’s Max Sequin scored the lone first-period goal with Canmore’s Vincent Scott’s 19th goal of the season knotting the score in the second period. The Eagles’ Owen Jones had a second-period penalty shot saved.

In the third, Canmore’s Hunter Burgeson scored his fourth of the season only to have Sequin score his second of the game to make it 2-2 with 11 minutes to play. Then, with just over six minutes to play and on the power play, Tyler Loughman tipped in a Brody Tallman point shot for his fifth goal of the season. The Eagles would weather the inevitable late-game push by the Pontiacs, with some stalwart defence keeping the home team at bay, and in the final minute, Tallman banked a puck off the boards from deep in his own zone and into the empty net at the other end to seal the victory.

Canmore outshot Bonnyville 37-34 giving more evidence that this was not a fluke but a strong effort at both ends of the ice – the Eagles held the Pontiacs to just nine shots in each of the final two periods while firing 12 and 16 respectively at the opposition goal. The goalies of record were Matthew Malin for the Eagles and Cole Tisdale for the Pontiacs.

Each team had one power-play goal with the Eagles having seven man-advantage chances to the Pontiacs six.

Goal bonanza

On Thursday (Jan. 5), Canmore began its three-game, three-day swing in Camrose against a Kodiaks team that had lost its last 12 games dating back to Nov. 22 – and had only scored 22 goals in that span.

This night, the Camrose offence seemed unstoppable recording an 8-5 victory. Callum Gau finished with two goals and two assists for the home side, with the second period proving the Eagles’ undoing.

It was even a wild first period, with each team scoring three goals, then Camrose potted four goals unanswered in the second period. After the Kodiaks opened up an 8-3 lead near the midpoint of the third period, the Eagles would get two late goals to ensure a somewhat respectable score line.

In addition to Gau scoring twice, fellow Kodiaks Ryan Sullivan and Levi Carter each had two goals, with singles from Owen Dean and Noah Alvarez.

For Canmore, Reed Jacobsen scored twice in the first period to give him seven goals for the season. Also scoring for the Eagles were  Scott, Kyle Young, and in his Eagle debut Cohen Daoust, an affiliate player from the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers U18AAA.

Canmore outshot Camrose 37-34. The goaltending duties for the Eagles were split between starter Andreai Proctor-Ramirez, who gave up five goals on 19 shots, and Malin, who gave up three goals on 15 shots. Liam Bechthold was in goal for the Kodiaks.

On the power play, Canmore was 2-for-10 with the Camrose going 3-for-7.

Kayden Rawji received a major penalty for boarding in the game and was subsequently suspended for the other two games on the road trip.

Second-period feast

On Saturday (Jan. 7), Canmore travelled to Lloydminster to take on the Bobcats with another second-period collapse leading to a 7-4 loss for the Eagles.

Lloydminster came into the contest ranked 15th in goals scored on the season, averaging less than three per game over 37 games. The Bobcats were also on a four-game losing streak and mired in seventh place in the North Division. So much for the Eagles having an edge.

Jones scored his 13th goal of the season to give Canmore a 1-0 lead at 12:22 but Lloydminster would outscore the Eagles 6-1 over the next 22 minutes and held a 6-2 lead into the third period.

Scott would twice for Canmore goals over the final two periods to give him 21 on the season. He moved to fifth overall in league scoring with 52 points. The Eagles’ captain is on a seven-game points streak, which includes seven goals and four assists, with an active goal-scoring streak of six goals in four games. The 20-year-old Edmonton native also had a seven-game points streak (5G-13A) in October.

Also scoring for the Eagles was Casey Black, his 4th of the season.

Brock Krulicki had two goals and three assists for Lloydminster, with Ben Bygrove also scoring twice. Rounding out the home scorers were Hayden Prosofsky, Jayven Leslie and Matthew Swanson.

Lloydminster outshot Canmore 52-39, with the Bobcats firing 23 shots on the Eagles’ goal in the second period. Proctor-Ramirez would start and was pulled after giving up six goals on 34 shots. Malin surrendered one goal on seven shots over the final 26 minutes. Matthew Syverson was in goal for the Bobcats.

On the power play, Canmore was 1-for-5 while Lloydminster was 2-for3.

Canmore called up affiliate Josh Missfeldt from the Edmonton Jr. Oilers U18AAA team for the final two games of the weekend as the team continues to play undermanned in dealing with injuries and suspensions while forward Tanner Gould has stepped away from the team for personal reasons.

The weekend results didn’t affect the Eagles when it came to the South Division standings as they continue to hold onto fifth place after 40 games at 17-19-2-2 but the distance to the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons (21-14-2-2) is now eight points.

Canmore returns home for five games beginning Wednesday (Jan. 11) when they host the Okotoks Oilers (23-13-1-2, second in the South), 7 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre. The Kodiaks have won three of the five previous meetings between the two teams this season.