More shootout thrills

Photo : Sei Spo Press

More shootout thrills

The Canmore Eagles staged another dramatic late-stage comeback, but unfortunately this one didn’t have a celebratory ending.

Playing the first of two Alberta Junior Hockey League games this season at the Banff Fenlands Recreation Centre on Wednesday (Oct. 26), Canmore overcame a two-goal deficit in the final seven minutes forcing overtime and then a penalty shootout where they came up short to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, losing 5-4 on the night.

In a fast-paced, frantic looking, end-to-end contest, that kept 575 Banff hockey fans on the edge of their seats all game long, the Eagles opened the scoring at 3:11 on a long shot by Finn McLaughlin during a lengthy power play as the visitors were shorthanded for the opening five minutes for a series of minors that began right at the opening face-off.

The lead stood for just over three minutes as finally back at full strength the Oil Barons rallied for three goals in the period to take a 3-1 lead into the first break. Goal scorers were Chris Kobelka, Olivier Lamothe – who in his goal-scoring celebration earned a 10-minute misconduct when he bowled over a linesman – and Jason Desnoyers.

The second period was marred by a half-hour stoppage near its midpoint when Eagles’ Cole Wirun crashed heavily into the end boards after becoming unbalanced chasing a loose puck. The result was a serious leg injury that necessitated medical attention by trainers from both teams and EMS. The 18-year-old rookie forward from Lethbridge was alert following the collision but left the ice by stretcher and was taken by ambulance to hospital.

When play resumed, Riley Dekowny scored the only goal of the middle frame to cut the Eagles’ deficit to one goal.

Oil Barons captain Max McCoy would renew his team’s two-goal lead 53 seconds into the third period.

Kyle Young then answered that goal back at 7:53 setting up another dramatic ending to regulation time for the Eagles. With the goaltender pulled it would by a long shot from just inside the blue line by Emmanuel Hudson that glided along the ice and past a screened Fort McMurray goaltender putting the Eagles back on even terms with 30 seconds remaining.

The two teams would go end-to-end during an entertaining five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime session with good chances for both squads to win it but for the goaltending heroics of the Oil Barons’ Gabe Gratton and Eagles’ Matthew Malin. They both were equally good during regulation and overtime with Canmore outshooting Fort McMurray 47-39.

In the penalty shootout, McCoy would score on the Oil Barons’ first shot, a backhand lift over Malin’s right pad, and it proved the game winner as the Eagles failed to convert any of their three shots.

Canmore, now 7-6-1-2, has played seven overtime/ shootout games this season. The Eagles have two wins and one loss in overtime, and two wins and two losses when games go to penalty shootouts.

On the power play in Wednesday’s, Canmore was 1-for-7 while Fort McMurray went 2-for-6.

Canmore’s record is now 7-6-1-2. The Eagles return to the Canmore Recreation Centre for two games this coming weekend: On Friday (Oct. 28) at 7 p.m.  they host the Calgary Canucks; followed on Sunday (Oct. 30) at 2 p.m. with visit from the Lloydminster Bobcats.

The next time Canmore will play in Banff is Wednesday, Feb. 15 when the Eagles host the Whitecourt Wolverines.