Holiday presents keep coming
As the Canmore Eagles have been doing all of December, the Alberta Junior Hockey League team continued with the holiday cheer for their home fans in their last game before Christmas.
The Eagles posted their fifth consecutive home ice win on Friday (Dec. 22), 3-1 over the Calgary Canucks. The team has given up only four goals in those five games with Matthew Malin earning his first shutout of the season in that span.
Malin has been in goal in each of the victories, which have been interrupted by a pair of road losses to the Drumheller Dragons, the last of which was a 2-0 loss on Thursday (Dec. 21).
Malin was named the AJHL defensive player of the week for his performances two weeks ago, and this week could earn it again as he gave up just two goals in two games – the other goal surrendered by the Eagles was an empty net marker in the loss to the Dragons. In December, the 20-year-old goaltender from San Francisco, Calif. won seven of nine games with a 1.39 goals-against average and a .952 save percentage attesting to his strong play. He was named the player of the game in four of his team’s last five games – surprisingly, maybe, the only game he wasn’t named a game star was in his 18-save shutout performance.
Friday’s victory was one of the most exuberant both on and off the ice in recent Canmore memory as the 20 Canmore and 973 cheering fans – aided by former Eagles player turned DJ Kazu Prevost spinning tunes throughout the game – provided an uplifting festive atmosphere through the course of 2½ hours, with the party for players and fans continuing well after the final buzzer.
Canmore finished December with a 7-3-0-0 record and continues to move up in the standings. The Eagles are now 11th with an overall record of 17-19-1-1. The players will now take a holiday break, returning to action the first weekend in January with a pair of home games against the Drayton Valley Thunder on Jan. 5 and the Lloydminster Bobcats on Jan. 6. Both games are 7 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
Eagles 0 at Dragons 2
Six days after Drumheller was blanked 5-0 in Canmore, the Dragons returned the favour at the Drumheller Memorial Arena.
Ayden Peters scored in the second period and Coy Pighin put the puck into an empty net with nine seconds remaining in the game to give Drumheller its third win in four games against Canmore this season.
Canmore outshot Drumheller 26-20 but couldn’t solve Dragons’ goaltender Sean Cootes. Malin surrendered just one goal on the 19 shots he faced.
On the power play, Canmore was 0-for-3 and Drumheller was 0-for-2.
Canucks 1 at Eagles 3
A pair of third-period goals by Logan Ziegler gave Canmore its fifth consecutive home-ice victory.
Ziegler, who leads the Eagles with 18 goals, got his stick to the puck during a goal-crease scramble to sweep it into the goal snapping a 1-1 tie with a power-play marker at 15:19, then finished off the game with an empty net tally at 19:27.
Brody Mortensen opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 4:11 of the second period. The Eagles had a two-man advantage at the time.
Calgary’s Riley Bracko scored just 61 seconds into the third period to tie the score at 1-1.
Canmore outshot Calgary 32-23 with Julian Molinaro in goal for the Canucks. Malin stopped all 14 shots he saw from the Canucks in the first period with the visitors only managing nine more over the final two periods.
On the power play, Canmore finished 2-for-8 while Calgary was 0-for-5 which included a pair of 5-on-3 scenarios.