With the uncertainty surrounding the Alberta Junior Hockey League and its five breakaway members jumping to the B.C. Hockey League (visit the AJHL website for the latest news), seemingly resolved, its is back to normal sort of routine for the remaining 11 members.
Canmore Eagles returned to the northeast of the province where the team produced one of its most successful stints this season back in October, winning all three games played against the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Lloydminster Bobcats and Camrose Kodiaks , but they were unable to repeat the feat.
This past weekend, the Eagles lost 3-2 in Bonnyville on Friday (Feb. 2), 4-2 in Lloydminster on Saturday (Feb. 3) and 6-4 in Camrose on Sunday (Feb. 4). As a result, Canmore is 21-28-1-1 and in sixth spot with 44 points.
How the final month of the regular season will play out is still to be determined. Teams were planning for a 62-game regular season but as it stands now, the Eagles have just two games remaining on their schedule which would bring them to 53 games, both are home contests at the Canmore Recreation Centre: Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. versus the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, and Monday, Feb. 19, the traditional Family Day matinee beginning at 2 p.m., against the Olds Grizzlies.
Eagles 2 at Pontiacs 3
Canmore captain Brody Tallman opened the scoring with his 15th goal of the season, and 12th on the power play, to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead through one period of play.
Bonnyville answered with a pair of second period goals, off the sticks of Nicolas Beaudoin, on the power play, and Luka Sukovic to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Another Canmore defenceman would tie the game at 3:24 of the third period when Casey Black scored his 4th goal of the season.
However, Bonnyville would have the final say in this game, and it would come on the power play, when Beaudoin scored his second goal at 9:23.
The game finished on a sour note with the Eagles’ Nathan MacPherson-Ridgewell and Pontiacs Dante Siciliano engaging in a fight after its conclusion. Both players were subsequently suspended two games, ruling MacPherson-Ridgewell out of the lineup the remainder of the weekend.
Canmore outshot Bonnyville 27-22 with Matthew Kieper in goal for the Eagles and Kyle Hagen in goal for the Pontiacs.
On the power play, Canmore was 1-for-10 while Bonnyville went 2-for-4.
Eagles 2 at Bobcats 4
Lloydminster would take the lead on three occasions in this game and hold on to win with an empty net goal in the final few seconds of the contest.
The Bobcats took the lead in the first period on a goal by Teague McAllister only to have the Eagles Rhett Dekowny score a shorthanded goal, his 12th overall goal this season, to knot the score at 1-1.
In the second period, Alessio Nardelli scored to give the home side the lead again, and this time Tyler Loughman, with his 16th goal, would tie the game at 2-2.
In the final period, Remy Spooner gave the Bobcats the lead at 11:36 and Ishan Mittoo scored into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining to cement the victory.
Lloydminster outshot Canmore 37-32 with Matthew Malin in goal for the Eagles and Jack Solomon in goal for the Bobcats.
Canmore again had the majority of power plays, outchancing Lloydminster 37-32 with neither team able to convert on their chances.
Eagles 4 at Kodiaks 6
Camrose used a four-goal third period to steal away the victory over a dominate Canmore team.
Camrose got goals from Cole Barrett and Levi Carter in the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the first break.
Canmore then scored twice in the middle frame, with Bryson Insinger scoring his 4th goal and Brody Mortensen tallying his 11th to get back on even terms.
In the third period, Kayden Rawji, who had two assists in each of the first two games on this road trip, would give Canmore the lead just 1:20 into the period with a shorthanded goal, his 9th overall goal of the season.
That lead stood for just over two minutes, as Levi Carter tied the game for the home side, and was followed by goals from teammates Ty Hodge and Garrett Thom to put the Kodiaks up 5-3 with just over nine minutes to play.
Mortensen would put the Eagles back within one with his second of the games and 12th of the season with just over seven minutes to play. However, Carter Matthews would renew the Kodiaks’ two-goal cushion with 3 ½ minutes remaining.
Canmore outshot Camrose 42-25 with Malin in goal for the Eagles and Elliott Pratt in goal for the Kodiaks.
On the power play, Canmore went 0-for-2 and Camrose was 1-for-6.
The revamped standings finding the Whitecourt Wolverines (27-16-4-1) in first place followed by Bonnyville (27-21-3-0), Calgary Canucks (26-20-1-2), Drumheller Dragons (24-19-4-3), Lloydminster (27-23-0-0) and then Canmore.
Details on how the final month of the regular season will look and the upcoming playoff format will be announced on the AJHL website when it has been finalized.