Tough stretch takes its toll
When looking at the schedule before this Alberta Junior Hockey League season began, November always looked like it would be the most challenging month for the Canmore Eagles.
Two weeks into November, it certainly is proving to be all of that as Canmore is winless in four games. The losing skid finds the team mired in fifth place in the South Division with a 9-10-1-2 record.
The latest loss for Canmore came Saturday (Nov. 12), 4-2 to the Brooks Bandits in the Eagles’ first road game of the month with timely saves and a some outstanding penalty killing keeping the score close against a team that has been regularly blowing out opponents.
Brooks had scored at least five goals in each of its previous eight games and won each of those by at least a four-goal margin.
The Bandits would outshoot Canmore 45-31 but Andreai Proctor-Ramirez was at his acrobatic best in goal for the Eagles, putting in his second 40-plus save performance against the Bandits this season – the other was in a 5-3 loss to Brooks in Canmore on Sept. 20. Goals for the Bandits came from Brendan Poshak, Ethan DeKay, Jordan Hughesman and Ethan Beyer.
Canmore goals came from Owen Jones, who for the second time this season has scored in back-to-back games, and Tyler Loughman, who scored his first goal in 10 games with 28 seconds remaining in the third period.
After going 0-for-19 on the power play over the previous three games, the Eagles scored on their first opportunity when Jones found space and time in the high slot to wire a shot over Bandits goaltender Ethan Barwick’s right shoulder to knot the game at 1-1 just 3:29 into the contest. The Eagles finished 1-for-5 while holding the man advantage.
Brooks went 0-for-5 on the power play. It was an impressive display for Canmore’s penalty killers as the Bandits’ power play was converting at a better than 40 per cent rate this season and failed to register a power-play goals in just two of its 23 games played before Saturday night. Brooks’ league-best 53 man-advantage goals are more than the total number of goals the Grande Prairie Storm have for the entire season (49 in 22 games).
Bulldogs have plenty of bite
The Blackfalds Bulldogs handed the Eagles their third successive loss to end a six-game homestand at the Canmore Recreation Centre, 6-2 on Thursday (Nov. 10).
Scoring for Blackfalds, which held period leads of 2-0 and 5-1, were Tanner Willick, Bill Gougon, Ashton Funk, Brett Meerman, Jason Siedem and Spencer Bell. Jayden Joy had three assists.
Replying for Canmore were Jones and Kyle Young.
Blackfalds outshot Canmore 40-30. Matthew Hennessey was in goal for the Bulldogs. Matthew Malin started for the Eagles. After giving five goals on 25 up shots over 35 minutes, Malin gave way to Proctor-Ramirez for the remainder of the game.
Canmore’s power play was 0-for-7 while Blackfalds went 2-for-4.
Next up for the Eagles, they host the Okotoks Oilers on Tuesday (Nov. 15), 7 p.m. at the Canmore Recreation Centre.
PHOTO CREDIT: SEI SPO PRESS