Smith named AJHL player of the week
When the Canmore Eagles exited October with consecutive wins for the first time this Alberta Junior Hockey League campaign, they relied on a veteran presence to lead the way. The efforts in those back-to-back wins helped earn one of those veterans, Eagles forward Kayden Smith the Pizza 73 AJHL player of the week honour for Oct. 24-30.
The 20-year-old from Calgary recorded 10 points (5 goals and 5 assists) over a three-game stretch. Smith had three assists in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Oct. 26, recorded a hat trick and one assist in a 5-3 win over the Calgary Canucks on Oct. 28, and finished up the week with two goals and one assist in a 5-1 victory over the Lloydminster Bobcats on Oct. 30.
Smith is the second Eagle to receive a weekly league award this season. Rhett Dekowny earned the Inter Pipeline AJHL rookie of the week nod for Oct. 3-9.
North wind grounds Eagles
Extending October’s month ending winning streak proved elusive as the Eagles entered November as the team suffered its first back-to-back losses since the last week of September.
On Friday (Nov. 4), the North Division-leading Spruce Grove Saints made their only appearance in Canmore and skated out of town with a 6-1 victory.
Ewan McPherson scored twice and added one assist for Spruce Grove, with singles from Luigi Benincasa, Alexander Babich, Isaac Abbott and Liam Watkins, who also picked up two assists.
Canmore’s lone goal came from Mason Bueckert in the third period with the Saints up 5-0. Vincent Scott failed to register a point and saw his points scoring streak come to an end at seven games, during which he registered five goals and 13 assists.
The teams played a scoreless first period. The Saints then showed why they top the North in the second period, stifling the Eagles with some fierce forechecking and forcing a number of turnovers that led to the visitors taking a 3-0 lead, with three more goals tacked on in the final period.
Spruce Grove outshot Canmore 34-31 with Jamison Kaine in goal for the Saints and Andreai Proctor-Ramirez in goal for the Eagles.
On the power play, Spruce Grove was 2-for-5 and Canmore was 0-for-6.
Pontiacs roar back
On Saturday (Nov. 5), Canmore took a two-goal lead against the visiting Bonnyville Pontiacs but were unable to hold onto the lead, giving up three consecutive goals and a 3-2 loss.
The Dekowny brothers, Rhett, in the first period, and Riley, in the second period, spotted Canmore its 2-0 lead.
Trey Funk would score late in the middle frame to get the Pontiacs back within one goal. Then in the third period, Matteo Giampa followed by Mike Cataldo put the visitors in the lead, and they held on for the victory.
Canmore outshot Bonnyville 31-27 in the game with Matthew Malin in goal for the Eagles and Bodee Weiss between the pipes for the Pontiacs. For Malin, the regulation time loss is his first since Sept. 17, also a 3-2 defeat but to the Blackfalds Bulldogs.
Both teams finished 0-for-6 on the power play. After scoring four power-play goals in its final game of October against the Bobcats, Canmore has now failed to score a man-advantage goal on any of its last 12 chances (six in each game versus the Saints and Pontiacs). While the Eagles have 21 power-play goals it comes on a 128 chances – the most of any team in the league – for a conversion rate of 16.4 per cent.
Canmore is now 9-8-1-2 and remains in fifth place in the South Division as the team reached the one-third mark of this 60-game regular season. Next up for the Eagles are the Bulldogs on Thursday (Nov. 10), 7 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre.