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February 19, 2013 –If you want to have success against the Olds Grizzlys, your powerplay needs to capitalize on their opportunities.
The Canmore Eagles had eight powerplay opportunities, including a two-man advantage for more than a minute and a half, but failed to score as the Grizzlys came back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to down the Eagles 3-2 in an Alberta Junior Hockey League game played before a season high crowd of 556 at the Canmore Recreation Centre on Monday afternoon.
The loss was a tough one to swallow for the Eagles, as both the Grizzlys and the Calgary Mustangs are suddenly just two and three points behind the Eagles respectfully in the battle for fifth-place in the AJHL standings and a playoff match-up against the fourth-place Drumheller Dragons. The Eagles have four games left on their schedule, including a home and home series against the league leading Brooks Bandits (49-3-3), while Olds and Calgary have three games left in their regular season.
“That was a very disappointing loss because we could have won that game in the first period,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club outshot the Grizzlys 18-8 in the first period and 43-35 overall. “We should have been able to take full control of the game in the first period, but we didn’t convert on our opportunities and it came back to haunt us. Same thing with our powerplay – we had some Grade A chances and didn’t finish them. As a result of not scoring, we gave them some hope and they took advantage of it as the game wore on. In the third period, it looked like we just ran out of gas.”
Luke Simpson, with his team leading 25th, and captain Riley Point (14th) had the Canmore goals, while goaltender Cameron Barnes was again brilliant in net and earned the Eagle’s “Star of the Game” for a second straight game.
The Eagles will play their final road game of the regular season on Friday night (Feb. 22) in Brooks and will then return for a huge home game on Saturday night (Feb. 23) against the Drumheller Dragons. Game time Saturday night is 7 PM.
Saturday night’s home game will be sponsored by Brewster Travel and will feature plenty of great prize giveaways.
NOTEBOOK: The Eagles played their three-game Family Day long weekend schedule without five veteran players in their lineup as forwards Steven Phee, Simon Philp and Nils Moser and defencemen Trey Phillips and John Stevens are all still nursing various injuries. With a little luck, Canmore hopes to have Phee and Phillips back in their lineup within the next week, while Stevens and Philp are listed as probable for the playoffs. Canmore has called up Grande Prairie Midget player Colton Sandboe for the remainder of the season.

PHOTO: Grizzly's defenceman Chris Stachiw lays the stick on Eagle's forward Alex Bechtold.

Photo courtesy of Julie Wilson