Eagles play with fire in pair of home games
The pyromaniac tendencies of the Canmore Eagles helped the club learn a valuable old adage last weekend: if you play with fire, you might get burned.
The Eagles followed up a scorching AJHL three-game road trip by coughing up back-to-back third period leads against Sherwood Park (6-5 shootout win), Saturday (Oct. 27) and in a 5-4 shootout loss to Bonnyville, Sunday (Oct. 28) to snap a four-game win streak.
“Three out of four points with this schedule is still pretty good, but the way the games go, we can’t be happy giving it up,” said captain Riley Point.
The club still sits in second place in the Southern Division approaching the 20-game mark.
The Eagles opened the Bonnyville game with two power play goals just over a minute apart, as Point and Nils Moser made the Pontiac’s Sean Mostrom pay for an ugly play on Paul Lamoureaux.
Bonnyville managed to get on the board with nine seconds left, also on the power play, with a shot that eluded Cam Barnes, who had been solid until that point.
The Eagles dominated the second period thanks in part to a Pontiacs’ penalty parade, starting when Eagle Connor Wilson cashed in on a goal line scramble for his first of the season. Newly-signed defenceman Ryan Whitell drew the lone assist.
The Pontiacs cut the lead to one at the eight-minute mark when a weak point shot was tipped past Barnes, giving the team temporary life. Eagle Jordan Revie then hit a streaking Steven Phee with a brilliant pass the length of the neutral zone. Phee hit the blueline at full speed and flipped a backhand shot into the Bonnyville net for a 4-2 lead.
In the third, the Eagles looked in control until the second half of the frame, when Bonnyville’s Max Collins was given a partial breakaway and made no mistake with his shot. Less than two minutes later, Tanner Dusyk completed the Pontiacs’ comeback on the power play after Phee was tossed from the game for checking from behind.
Overtime solved nothing, and it took six rounds of shootout before the Pontiacs netted the winner. Revie was the lone Eagle to score in the shootout.
Assistant coach Jeremy Reich said the team was missing a lot of players, meaning young guns clocked a lot more ice time. Zack Rassell missed the game with a “lower body injury” and was seen walking with a noticeable limp. Rassell was tied for the league scoring lead. Goalie Ty Swabb was hurt against Sherwood Park and did not dress against Bonnyville. Both are expected back this week. Connor Hoekstra was also absent, as he attended Team Canada West tryouts.
“We’re happy with the way they battled tonight. We’re short on bodies. A lot of guys played a lot of minutes tonight. But at the end of the night we were disappointed we lost. We gotta find ways to lock those games down,” Reich said. “Give (Bonnyville) credit. They deserved those last two goals. It was unfortunate with Phee’s penalty.”
The previous weekend, the team played admirably with the lead in the third period. Reich said it’s something they’ll have to figure out.
“In the last 10 minutes, we didn’t do a great job of holding the lead. I don’t think we did a great job of dumping the puck and making them retrieve it. That’s something we’ll address,” Reich said.
The Eagles power play went two for eight, but Bonnyville went two for three, which sparked the comeback.
“That was the difference. They scored two of their goals on the powerplay. Our penalty kill has been good all year, but they were two for three and that’s something we want to avoid,” Point said. “We can’t let them back in the game. We’ve got to step on their throats when the going’s good.”
The Eagles are on the road with a light schedule, playing only two games in the next two weeks – both on the road against Okotoks. The divisional rival will be a good test for the Eagles.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.