PHOTO: Tanner Klassen (White #25) scores a big goal for the Canmore Eagles after a nice set-up by teammate Kurt Hildebrand (#29) during last night’s exhibition game against the Olds Grizzlys. (Photo courtesy of Noel Rogers)
The Canmore Eagles and the Olds Grizzlys both won games on Tuesday night as the two Alberta Junior Hockey League teams played a home and home exhibition series with split squad rosters to open up their 2015-16 exhibition schedules.
The visiting teams were both victorious as the Grizzlys defeated the hometown Eagles 6-5 in overtime in Canmore, while the visiting Eagle team returned the favour by dropping the Grizzlys 2-1 in an overtime shoot-out in Olds.
Both teams used a large number of rookies in both games as their respective coaches used the opportunity to get one last look at their extended training camp rosters.
“A split squad game gives us a chance to provide our younger players with the experience of playing an AJHL exhibition game and get accustomed to the faster pace and the hitting that goes with Junior A hockey,” said Eagles Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne, who reduced his roster size significantly after the game. “The players that we released can now go back to their midget teams and work on their game in preparation for next year.”
In the game in Canmore, the Eagles received goals from Coy Prevost, Matt Forchuk, Brent Koch, Daylan Marchi and Tanner Klassen.
In the game in Olds, Nicholas Wihak had the lone Eagle goal in regulation time while Alex Leonidas had the eventual overtime shoot-out winner in the 13th round.
The Eagles will wrap up their exhibition schedule with a home and home series against the Calgary Canucks. Canmore will travel to the Max Bell Arena in Calgary for a game on Thursday, Sept. 3 before returning home on Friday, Sept. 4 for the re-match. Game time Friday night at the Canmore Recreation Centre is 7 PM.
Canmore will open the regular season at home on Friday, September 11 against the Brooks Bandits.
NOTEBOOK: The Eagles expect to have rookie prospect Jacob Ashton back in their lineup for their remaining exhibition games after the 17-year-old spent the last week at the Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL camp. Ashton is expected to add some offence to the Eagle’s lineup as he recorded 20 goals and 17 assists in 33 games with the Calgary Buffaloes Midget AAA team last year. . . Adam Tisdale, another 17-year-old who had 30 points in 34 games last year with the Calgary Northstars Midget AAA team, joined the Eagles for last night’s game after returning from the Portland Winterhawks WHL camp.