Next up Bobcats

Next up Bobcats

The Canmore Eagles take on the Lloydminster Bobcats in the opening round of the Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs.

The first round series begins in Lloydminster on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10. The matchup continues in Canmore on Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20. If necessary, Game 5 is in Lloydminster on Friday, March 22, Game 6 is in Canmore on Sunday, March 24, and Game 7 is in Lloydminster on Tuesday, March 26.

Canmore earned its spot in the AJHL playoffs with a three-game sweep of the Fort McMurrray Oil Barons in a best-of-five play-in series.

Canmore (25-29-2-1, 7th place) and Lloydminster (33-24-0-0, 2nd) met four times during the regular season with the Bobcats winning three of those games. The Eagles’ lone victory came in the first meeting of the season, a 5-4 win on Oct. 7 in the border town. Zach Coutu had the game winner as the Eagles scored four goals in the second period. Lloydminster would win both games played in Canmore: 5-2 on Oct. 28 and 4-2 on Jan. 6. The final regular-season game between the two clubs was a 4-2 Bobcats win on home ice on Feb. 3.

Lloydminster’s Caden Cabana led the league in scoring with 27 goals and 42 assists for 69 points. Teammate Ben Aucoin had the most power-play points with 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points. The Bobcats are also riding a five-game winning streak, its longest of the season, at the end of the regular season, but have not played since the final day of the regular season March 2.

Logan Ziegler topped all Canmore scorers over the course of the regular season with 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points. The Eagles are on a four-game winning streak, including a victory in their final regular-season game.

In the matchup between the two teams, a pair of Bobcats had six points from the four games; Aucoin with three goals and three assists; Ishan Mittoo with two goals and four assists. Canmore was led by Rhett Dekowny with two goals, including a shorthanded marker, and two assists for four points, with Logan Ziegler and Kayden Rawji each registering one goal and three assists.

Dekowny led all Eagles scorers in the play-in series with the Oil Barons with five points (1G-4A). Matthew Malin was in goal for all three games, posting a 1.00 goals-against average, with one shutout, and a .958 save percentage.

Jack Solomon was between the pipes for three of the four games for the Bobcats against the Eagles, winning twice, posting a 2.37 GAA and a .937 S/Pct. Malin appeared in two games, losing both, with a 3.56 GAA and an .879 S/Pct.

Both teams penalty killing excelled with the Eagles operating at 83.3 per cent (20-for-24) and the Bobcats at 87.5 per cent (14-for-16).

The playoff opponents were decided Monday (March 11) when the Grande Prairie Storm defeated the Olds Grizzlys 5-2 and the Camrose Kodiaks dispatched the Drayton Valley Thunder with a 3-2 overtime win as both play-in series finished in four games.

Playoff Matchups (best-of-seven)

No. 1 Whitecourt Wolverines (34-18-4-1) vs No. 8 Camrose Kodiaks (25-29-0-7)

No. 2 Lloydminster Bobcats (33-24-0-0) vs No. 7 Canmore Eagles (25-29-2-1)

No. 3 Calgary Canucks (31-23-1-2) vs No. 6 Grande Prairie Storm (24-26-4-3)

No. 4 Bonnyville Pontiacs (30-23-4-0) vs No. 5 Drumheller Dragons (26-23-5-3)