They’re coming back to Canmore

They’re coming back to Canmore

The Eagles aren’t ready to have their wings clipped.

Canmore soared to a Game 6 win with a thrilling 3-2 road victory over the Drumheller Dragons on Friday (March 17) in this Alberta Junior Hockey League first-round series. The win forces a Game 6 on Sunday (March 19) in Canmore.

After falling behind 3-1 in the series when the Eagles lost both home games midweek, the No. 6 seed in the South Division showed no signs of resignation against the No. 3 seed at the Drumheller Memorial Arena performing before a playoff best 1,422 fans which included a bus load of Eagles’ faithful.

Canmore goaltender Andreai Proctor-Ramirez gave a spectacular and team-inspiring 41-save performance especially in the scoreless opening period when he made 21 saves.

Canmore captain Vincent Scott scored twice to keep his team even with Drumheller through two periods. His first goal gave Canmore a 1-0 lead at 3:05 of the second frame – the Eagles have scored the first goal in each of the five games. Then during a scramble in front of goal, Scott banged in the loose puck for his fourth goal of the series to tie the game at 2-2 with 1.3 seconds left in the period.

Drumheller’s two second-period goals came from their captain Sam Simard, tying the game at 16:40, and Wil Christian, giving the home side the lead at 18:55.

Early in the third period. Canmore’s Dekowny brothers then, sort of, combined for the game-winning goal. Younger brother Rhett Dekowny was nailed into the boards by Drumheller’s Adam Raesler, who received a minor penalty for boarding at 3:53. On the ensuing power play, and just 14 seconds was needed, Riley Dekowny tipped in a Finn McLaughlin point shot.

Canmore put together a herculean defensive stand in their own end in the final two minutes of the period – Drumheller pulled the goaltender for an extra attacker – not allowing a shot to reach Proctor-Ramirez.

Canmore took 31 shots on Drumheller netminder Brett Fuller, who like Proctor-Ramirez has played in every game of this series. The Eagles other win was also 3-2 in the opening game of the series, also in Drumheller. In the three Dragons’ victories, Fuller allowed a total of four goals.

On the power play, Canmore was 1-for-5 and Drumheller was 0-for-2. Dekowny’s power-play goal was just the second of the series for the Eagles, who have had 15 man-advantage chances.

The series switches back to Canmore on Sunday, 6 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre. The Eagles need to win that game and a Game 7 that would be played in Drumheller on Tuesday (March 21) to get to the second round of the AJHL championship tournament.

Around the league

In the other South Division playoff series that was still alive, the No. 2 Blackfalds Bulldogs closed the book on the No. 7 Calgary Canucks with a 4-1 win on home ice on Tuesday.

The No. 1 Brooks Bandits, who have a first-round bye, Blackfalds, and No. 4 Okotoks Oilers after sweeping the No. 5 Camrose Kodiaks, are waiting the outcome of the Canmore-Drumheller series to see who their second-round opponents will be when the next round begins on Friday, March 24. Should Canmore win the next two games they will meet Brooks in that round.

In the North Division on Tuesday: No. 5 Fort McMurray Oil Barons defeated No. 4 Sherwood Park Crusaders 2-1 to take a 3-2 lead in the series; No. 3 Bonnyville Pontiacs edged No. 6 Lloydminster Bobcats 3-2 in overtime to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Awaiting the winners of those two series are the No. 1 Spruce Grove Saints and No. 2 Whitecourt Wolverines.