PHOTO: The Okotoks Oilers with goaltender Nic Renyard will be a big challenge for the Canmore Eagles this weekend. (File photo courtesy of Julie Wilson)
Friday, Jan. 30 – Canmore at Okotoks – 7 PM
Saturday, Jan. 31 – Okotoks at Canmore – 7 PM
JAN. 31 UPDATE: In Friday's game in Okotoks, the Eagles were shut-out 6-0 by the Okotoks Oilers.
Although they still have 13 games remaining in their Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season schedule, the Canmore Eagles could be looking at a possible playoff preview this weekend when they hook up for a home-and-home series against the Okotoks Oilers.
The Oilers (28-14-5) currently sit in third-place in the AJHL Southern Division standings with 61 points, while the Eagles (22-24-1) occupy sixth-place with 45 points. If the season ended today, the two teams would meet in the opening round of the playoffs which are set to begin in early March.
“With 13 games left to play, it’s way too early to make any playoff match-up predictions, but with the way the standings are today, there is a pretty good chance that we might end up playing the Oilers in the playoffs,” said Eagle’s Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, whose club has gone 4-6 in their last 10 games. “We had a home-and-home series against Olds last weekend and we won the first game in Olds but we couldn’t finish it off with a win in Canmore on the second night which was very disappointing. For whatever reason, we just haven’t been able to get on a winning streak this year. We all believe that we have the talent in the dressing room to be a much better hockey team, but we need to start proving it on the ice.”
The two teams have met four times this season with the Eagles winning Game One 5-2 in Canmore on Sept. 23, while the Oilers have won the last three games – 2-1 in Okotoks (Oct. 24), 6-4 in Canmore (Nov. 19) and 6-2 in Okotoks (Nov. 21).
“The Oilers are a very good hockey team and they are in a battle for third-place with the Drumheller Dragons, so this home-and-home series is also very important for them,” said Milne. “These games will be a good measuring stick for us and we better be prepared for two very tough games.”
Both games start at 7 PM.
NOTEBOOK: Eagle captain Connor Wilson has 50 points in 42 games this season and currently sits in 5th-place in the AJHL scoring parade . . . Despite going 0-8 on the powerplay last weekend against Olds, the Eagles still have the second best powerplay in the AJHL scoring 48 goals on 229 opportunities for a 20.96% efficiency rating . . . The Oilers are very stingy defensively as they have allowed just 123 goals against this season in their 47 games played. In contrast, Canmore has allowed 177 goals in their 47 games played. . . Following this weekend's home-and-home series with Okotoks, the Eagles will head out on the road for five consective road games with tough stops in Bonnyville, Lloydminster, Camrose, Brooks and Drumheller.