Photo Credit Sei Spo Press
Strong start to December
The Canmore Eagles took on the top two teams in the South Division this past weekend and came away with three of a possible four points.
After registering just one win and two points in its first eight November games, the Eagles now have two wins and five points from their last three games which includes a November ending 5-1 win over the Drayton Valley Thunder.
The opening weekend of December’s results were punctuated with a dominating 6-3 win over the Drumheller Dragons on Saturday (Dec. 3).
The Dragons came into the game riding an eight-game winning streak and had climbed to second in the division. The Eagles though left no doubt who owned the ice in Drumheller this night.
Goals by Tyler Loughman, Hunter Burgeson and Riley Dekowny gave Canmore a 3-0 lead in a powerful first-period performance. Burgeson and Dekowney scored just 13 seconds apart in the 15th minute of play.
In the second period, the Dragons got an early goal from Wil Christian. The Eagles reasserted their dominance resulting in goals by Nathan Ellis, his first of the season, and a second from Riley Dekowny, his team leading 13th of the campaign.
Defence Casey Black scored his second in as many games to give Canmore a 6-1 lead at six minutes of the third period. A pair of consolation goals for Drumheller came from Sam Simard and Vann Yuhas.
Drumheller outshot Canmore 35-31. The Dragons had 18 shots in the third period to the Eagles seven. Matthew Malin was in goal for Canmore. Garrett Fuller started for Drumheller and gave up three goals on 13 shots. He was pulled in favour of Liam Choquette after the Eagles took a 3-0 lead.
After a lengthy dry spell, the Eagles fine form coincides with the resurgence of their power play, scoring twice in five chances in Drumheller – with six man-advantage goals in the past three games: two wins and an overtime loss. The Dragons were 1-for-5 on the power play.
Eagles’ comeback falls short in OT
A late third-period rally by Canmore pushed Brooks to overtime on Friday (Dec. 2), with the hometown Bandits prevailing 4-3 in overtime.
The League-leading Bandits saw their 16-game winning streak put to the test after the Eagles rallied from down 3-1 with two goals in the final five minutes of the third period. However, Dario Beljio saved the Bandits from losing for the second time at home to the Eagles this season with the game winner 1:54 in the overtime period.
It was a scoreless first period with Brooks taking a 2-0 lead through 40 minutes on goals by Beljo and Danylo Korzhyeltskyi.
Black scored just 1:17 into the third period to get the Eagles within one goal but Aiden Fink answered that 10 minutes later. That set up a dramatic, final few minutes.
Pushing the attack, the Eagles got goals from defencemen Finn McLaughlin at 15:11 and then a power-play marker by Brody Tallman at 18:24 to knot the game at 3-3.
Brooks outshot Canmore 38-26 with Andreai Proctor-Ramirez in goal for the Eagles and Nathan Barwick in goal for the Bandits.
Brooks, whose power play has been operating at better than 36 per cent this season, was 2-for-4 with the man advantage, while Canmore went 1-for-3 and with Saturday’s power-play goals are now over the 16 percent mark playing with the extra man for the first time this season.
Canmore has taken three of six points in Brooks this season, winning 4-3 in overtime on Sept. 23 and losing 4-2 Nov. 12. The Bandits defeated the Eagles 5-3 in Canmore in September, with two more games at the Canmore Recreation Centre: Jan. 21 and March 1.
The Eagles, sixth place in the South with a 12-13-2-2 record, will get a few days of practice at home before they head back out for the annually dreaded three-games-in-three-days road trip weekend. Games are Friday (Dec. 9) in Grande Prairie, Saturday (Dec. 10) in Whitecourt) and Sunday (Dec. 11) afternoon in Drayton Valley. With the recent results, it just might not be so dreadful a weekend as there now looks to be an extra jump in Canmore’s game.