The Canmore Eagles had their hands full last night as they battled the number 1 Junior A team in Canada, the Brooks Bandits. The Bandits who have lost only 3 times this season showed why there are the top team in the country as they defeated the Eagles by a score of 10-6 in front of 431 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre. The Bandits who haven’t tasted defeat since November 27 picked up their 20th consecutive win to tie their franchise record for longest winning streak and they now have an impressive record of 44 wins and only 3 losses. The Eagles, with the loss, see their record drop to 24-19-5 for 53 points. The Eagles remain in 6th Place in the AJHL South Division, 1 point back of the 5th Place Camrose Kodiaks and 3 points back of the 4th Place Calgary Mustangs, the final spot for home ice advantage in the 1st Round of the Playoffs.
What certainly proved to be costly for the Eagles in last night’s game was the team’s lack of discipline. The Eagles gave 12 Power Play (PP) opportunities to the visiting Bandits who have the best PP in the AJHL operating at 29.32%. The Bandits capitalized 4 times with the man advantage.
“We took stupid and selfish penalties and it cost us,” said Eagles’ Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Their first 3 goals were scored on the PP. We are selfish in some areas of the game. We need to control our emotional level. Players who take stupid penalties will need to start getting punished for that.”
One positive about last night’s game is that the Eagles were able to score 6 times. The Bandits have allowed 5 goals or more in a game only 4 times this season and twice out of those 4 times was against the Eagles. The Eagles goal scorers were Taden Rattie (15th), Quinton Ong (18th), Mark Drohan (11th), Finn Withey (2nd), Colton Young (22nd) and Michael Spafford (10th). Spafford had a 3 point night, while Colton Young, Ong and Withey had 2 points each. The Eagles scored twice on the PP in 5 opportunities and 1 goal was scored Shorthanded.
In goal, it was Logan Dyck who went the distance stopping 33 of the 43 shots he faced. Despite giving up 10 goals, Coach Milne thought his netminder played well. The shots were 43-26 in favour of Brooks.
The Eagles head on the road this weekend for a two-game Northern trip as they faceoff against the Bonnyville Pontiacs (34-10-3) on Friday night and the Lloydminster Bobcats (9-36-1) on Saturday night. Bonnyville is in 1st Place in the North division, while Lloydminster is in the last place. Following the road trip, the Eagles will return home to battle the Calgary Mustangs (25-17-6) on Friday, February 8 to start off a 4-game homestand.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
- The Eagles record in the month of January was 5-5-2.
- This weekend’s Northern trip will be the Eagles’ final trek to the North Division teams this season. After this weekend, the Eagles will only have 1 more game vs a North division opponent and it will be on Friday, February 15 versus the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
- The Eagles enter the final the month of the regular season as they have only 12 more games to play with 6 of those at the Canmore Recreation Centre. Ten of those twelve games are against teams with a winning record. The Eagles’ final regular season game is on March 2 and the AJHL Playoffs are scheduled to begin on March 7.
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