The Canmore Eagles have had a tradition that’s been going on since the 2001-02 season. That tradition is hosting the South Division rivals the Camrose Kodiaks for a pair of games at the Canmore Recreation Centre every year. Friday night, in the first game of the doubleheader, the Eagles came away victorious as they edged the Kodiaks by a score of 4-3. A big win for the Eagles as they are now only 2 points back of the Kodiaks for 4th Place in the South Division, the last spot to get home-ice advantage for the 1st Round of the playoffs. The Eagles record is 7-9-2 good for 16 points.
The Eagles had a strong opening period, as they were able to get the puck past Kodiaks netminder Griffin Bowerman 4 times while giving up only 1 goal.
It was Defenceman Brent Schuldhaus who opened the scoring at 2:35 of the period with a power-play goal. Connor Lyons and Owen Reith assisted. Just 1:56 later, it was Lyons who doubled the Eagles lead with his 14th of the season. Carter Coles and Zach Carlson picked up the assists. The visitors answered back with a power-play goal from Greyson Stewart at 9:24. But late in the period, the Eagles regained their 2-goal cushion at 18:11 with another power-play goal from Brent Schuldhaus, his 2nd of the game and 5th of the season. Finn Withey and Cameron Sterling assisted. Then at 18:56, Alex Young with his team-leading 16th of the season allowed the Eagles to go up by 3 at the 1st intermission. Lyons and Carlson got the assists.
The 2nd period was a lot less busy on the scoresheet, as neither team scored. Both teams had some good chances, but both goalies, Bowerman for Camrose and Kaidan Kilpatrick for the Eagles stood tall to keep it a 4-1 game.
In the final frame, the Kodiaks refused to go down easily as they peppered Kilpatrick with 23 shots and they scored twice, both power-play goals from Jacob Kendall at 8:12 and Carson Welke at 14:12. But that was as close as they would get, Kilpatrick was able to shut the door and help the Eagles hold for the win.
“I thought we started really well, but we did not do a good job of putting the game away,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne. “Kaidan was great, he bailed out many of our players on some really poor decisions.”
The 19-year-old netminder of Headingley, Manitoba stopped 47 of the 50 shots he faced, including stopping 21 in the 3rd period to improve his record to 3-0-2. The final shots on goal were 50-42 in favour of Camrose.
The two teams are back at it for the 2nd game of the doubleheader tonight at 7 pm at the CanmoreRecreation Centre.
When asking Coach Milne if Saturday's game will be any different than Friday's, he answered saying, “I think it will be relatively the same. I think Camrose should feel good about their game. On our side, we need to make smart and better decisions.”
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
- Ironically, when the Eagles and the Kodiaks met for the doubleheader in Canmore last season, in the first game, the Eagles had 4-1 a lead after the first period, while the Kodiaks scored twice in the 3rd period and saw their comeback falling short just like Friday night. Except that the final score was 5-4. In the 2nd game, the Eagles won 4-2 to sweep the doubleheader. Will history repeat itself on Saturday's game with another Eagles win or will the Kodiaks be able to go back home with the split?
- Alex Young and Connor Lyons are both currently riding an 8-game point streak. In the AJHL scoring race, Young is tied for 3rd with 16 goals and 32 points, while Lyons is 5th with 14 goals and 31 points.
- Saturday's game will also see the Eagles wrap up a 5-game homestand. So far, the Eagles have picked up points in every game of the homestand with 2 wins and 2 overtime/shootout losses.
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