PHOTO- Eagles Head Coach Andrew Milne and his hockey club will have their hands full this weekend with home games against powerhosues Brooks and Fort McMurray – (photo courtesy of Julie Wilson)
If the Canmore Eagles want to show the Alberta Junior Hockey League that they intend to be contenders this season, this weekend’s two home games on their schedule would be an ideal opportunity to prove such a point.
The Eagles, who have gotten off to a mediocre 6-5 start to the regular season, will play host to two of the AJHL premiere teams this weekend as the Brooks Bandits will pay a visit on Friday Oct. 10 and the Fort McMurray Oil Barons will follow up on Saturday (Oct. 11). Both games start at 7 PM at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
“No question, this is our opportunity to make a statement to the league,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club has surrendered a league leading 18 power play goals thus far. “Both of these teams are very successful franchises in the AJHL and have proven themselves to be amongst the top teams for many years. We believe we have a strong competitive team this year and this weekend’s game provides us with an ideal opportunity to go out and prove it. We didn’t play very well at the Showcase Weekend two weekends ago, but now we have the opportunity to redeem ourselves.
“For us to take the next step forward, we need to remain disciplined and stay out of the penalty box. We have taken far too many dumb penalties in the offensive zone this year and it has really bitten us hard. Both the Bandits and the Oil Barons have some excellent top end talent and we simply can’t afford to give them any un-necessary powerplay opportunities.”
Brooks Bandits (5-5) – Friday, October 10 – 7 PM
The Bandits, who came back from a 3-1 second period deficit to defeat the Eagles 5-4 in Brooks on October 4, are always the team to beat in the AJHL Southern Division as they have claimed the regular season championship for the past three seasons.
As usual, the Bandits have some excellent offensive talent as they feature two of the AJHL’s leading scorers with Austin Plevy sitting in 3rdplace overall with 15 points (5 goals and 10 assists) and Alex Roberts occupies 5thplace overall with 14 points (8 goals and 6 assists).
The Bandits feature 14 non-Albertans on their hockey roster with six players coming from Ontario, four from the USA, three from BC, and one from Quebec.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons (8-5) – Saturday, October 11 – 7 PM
The Oil Barons are always a perennial powerhouse in the AJHL Northern Division as they have compiled an impressive 166-63-11 regular season record over the past four AJHL seasons.
Fort McMurray will come to Canmore looking for some revenge as the Eagles surprised the Oil Barons 5-4 in Fort McMurray on Sept. 21. It represents the only home loss of the season for Fort McMurray.
The Oil Barons feature the AJHL’s top scorer as left winger Jetlan Houcher has been red-hot notching 13 goals and picking up 4 assists in just 13 games played. Team-mate Mitchell Vanderlaan is close behind with 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points.