After picking up a 6-3 win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the Canmore Eagles were looking to build off that game Saturday night against another North Division opponent, the Lloydminster Bobcats. The Eagles were able to do just that as they knocked off the visiting Bobcats 4-0 to improve their record to 16-23-4 for 36 points. The win allows the Eagles to move within 7 points of the Camrose Kodiaks for 4th Place in the AJHL South Division after the Kodiaks fell 5-4 to the Drumheller Dragons.
“Tonight we had a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm,” said Eagles Associate Coach/Assistant General Manager Evan McFeeters. “We carried our momentum from the previous night. Our guys didn’t let off the gas pedal all night long. They played the right way from the start all the way to the end. We were playing for our goaltender at the end. We didn’t give up much offensively. We capitalized on our chances offensively early.”
The goalie getting the nod was rookie Devin Chapman who turned aside all 19 shots he faced to earn his 1st career AJHL Shutout.
“Chappy’s earned it,” said Coach McFeeters. “He’s put in a lot of work behind the scenes in practice to get his game to where he feels it needs to be and where we need him to be as a goaltender down the stretch here. Full marks to his effort tonight. The shot count was down, but that’s because he controlled his rebounds, he didn’t get himself in any trouble and he played the puck well.”
After an outstanding performance in the win on Friday night, the Eagles top line of Connor Lyons, Alex Young and Zach Carlson got the team going in the 1st period with Young scoring his 28th of the season at 4:33 of the opening frame. Lyons and Dylan Witzke assisted. Then at 14:46, it was Lyons with his 28th of the season to make it 2-0 Eagles. Young and Witzke assisted.
The 2nd period belonged to a different line. At 6:50, Cameron Sterling tapped in a great cross-ice pass from Ethan Schaeffer for his 5th goal of the season. Michael Spafford also assisted on the goal. Then at 11:42, it was Schaeffer who scored a highlight real goal as he dangled through the Bobcats defence and undressed Bobcats goalie Josh Dias for his 8th goal of the season. Spafford and Sterling assisted.
No goals were scored in the 3rd period, and the Eagles were able to preserve the shutout.
Coach McFeeters had some praises for the Schaeffer, Sterling and Spafford line saying, “Schaeffer has been continually improving throughout the whole season. He’s playing his best hockey right now. An opportunity to play with some veteran guys and veteran Junior Hockey guys in Spafford and Sterling and they’re starting to click now. What we need is some secondary scoring. Everyone knows the Connor Lyons, Alex Youngs and Zach Carlson's. Now as we get prepared for the playoffs, it’s going to be about the depth of teams. Now that line is stepping up and giving us some big goals in big situations.”
Schaeffer, who made two outstanding plays on the two goals his line was involved in, talked about how his line made those goals happen saying, “The first one, I just saw Sterling posted on the far wall, delayed a little bit, threw across to him, happened to get a stick on it and threw it in. On the second one, Spaff gave me a nice pass across, beat the guy wide and I was able to find the net.”
Another new Eagles player was making his debut tonight was 18-year-old Forward Tye Carriere playing in his 1st game as an Eagle after spending the 1st ½ season with the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL.
“We know Tye, we know what he brings, we know his strengths,” said Coach McFeeters. “When he gets accustomed to playing regular minutes and to be a big part of our club, he’s going be a huge acquisition going forward. We’re happy for his performance tonight. We know that it’s just the tip of the iceberg and he’s got more to get and he’s going to get more opportunities moving forward.”
The Eagles next game is on Tuesday night when they travel to the Badlands to battle a familiar opponent, the Drumheller Dragons (22-15-3). The Eagles will look for their 1st win against their South Division rivals this season as Drumheller has won all 4 meetings so far this year, with 2 going to Overtime.
“We like to play in Drumheller, we know it’s going to be a tight game going back to last season here,” said Coach McFeeters. "After January 10, it feels like a new season. Now is a sprint to the playoffs. We've got a little bit of a different identity with our Hockey Club. We’re going there and have our skating legs under us.”
After Tuesday night’s game, the Eagles will take on the Olds Grizzlys (8-27-5) for a Home-and-Home series next weekend. The Eagles will host the back end of the Home-and-Home on Saturday night at 7 pm.
EAGLES FUN FACTS:
- The Eagles have now played all of their games against the teams of the North Division this season. The Eagles went 7-10-1 vs the North.
- The Eagles have 15 games left to play and the team’s goal is to try to get home-ice advantage for the 1st Round of the Playoffs.
- New Eagles Defenceman Cameron Chin who was acquired from the Spruce Grove Saints on Friday arrived today and he is expected to make his Eagles debut next week.
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