Over the course of a 60-game regular season, every hockey club is going absorb its fair share of losses.
The Canmore Eagles suffered a pair of losses to the Okotoks Oilers over the weekend but the manner in which the losses were inflicted were remarkably different as the Eagles were literally humiliated in a 6-0 defeat in Okotoks on Friday night, but rallied back with a much better performance on Saturday night only to lose 3-2 in overtime in Canmore.
With the the single point eaned for their overtime loss, the Eagles (22-25-2) now have   46 points and sit in sixth-place in the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Southern Division standings. The Oilers improved to 30-14-5 and solidified their third-place position in the standings with 65 points. If the playoffs were to begin today, the Oilers and Eagles would hook up in the first-round, best-of-five opening round series.
In Friday’s 6-0 loss in Okotoks, the Oilers completely dominated the Eagles in every facet of the game– keeping them off the score sheet  and outshooting them by a wide 36-20 margin, including a 15-3 edge in the third period..
In Saturday’s rematch in Canmore, the Eagles played a much more determined game scoring two powerplay goals while outshooting the Oilers by a 36-29 margin. The Oilers emerged victorious when they capitalized on a 4-3 powerplay opportunity in overtime to seal the deal.
“We responded with a much better effort on Saturday night,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, who was left literally speechless after Friday night's debacle in Okotoks. “As a team, we were embarrassed by our play on Friday night. While we didn’t show it Friday night, we have the ability to adapt to any style that the other team wants to throw at us as we have players with speed and toughness. We have the capability of setting both the pace and intensity and we showed that on Saturday night. When we play a team game and everyone buys in, we can play with anyone in our league. Unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted on Saturday night, but at least the process was there.”
With just 11 games left on their regular season schedule, the immediate road ahead for Canmore is paved with a series of very difficult games beginning next weekend when the team heads north for a three-game road trip to Bonnyville (23-19-7) on Friday, Lloydminster (27-27-6) on Saturday, and a Sunday afternoon game in Camrose (38-8-3). The Eagles are a combined 0-8 against these three teams this season.
The Eagles will then conclude their five-game road odyssey with a trip to Brooks (36-12-1) on Wed. Feb. 11, and a trip to the badlands to face the Drumheller Dragons (27-16-7) on Fri. Feb. 13.
The Eagles next home game will be on Saturday Feb. 14 when the Calgary Mustangs pay a visit to Canmore.
NOTEBOOK: With 11 games to play, the Eagles have a 10-point lead over the seventh-place Calgary Canucks and a 15 point lead over the eighth-place Calgary Mustangs. The top seven teams qualify for the post-season playoffs . . . After their upcoming five game road trip, the Eagles will wrap up their regular season by playing five of their last six games on home ice.