CANMORE – It’s been cold outside in November, but not as cold as the Canmore Eagles.
The Junior A hockey club dropped its fifth straight game on Tuesday (Nov. 15), a 2-0 loss to the Okotoks Oilers to stay winless so far this month.
The cold streak, along with nagging injuries and lack of depth on the blue line, is keeping the club busy on the phone, trying to trade for a defenceman but “it’s not easy.”
“Our league isn’t a league where if you get injured, the way we did, then you don’t really have opportunities to move guys out to get guys,” said Andrew Milne, general manager and head coach. “There’s no draft picks. There’s cash, but no one wants cash because it doesn’t play, and it seems everyone is in that boat where they’ve got some injuries so bodies are just really hard to come by. We’re working on it, but it’s not easy.”
Tuesday’s loss to the Oilers has been the low point of the season, capped off by the Eagles big offensive guns – Vinny Scott, Kayden Smith, and Riley Dekowny – going quiet in the five-game stretch. The three have combined for only three points in November, a far-cry from last month, when the on-fire trio lit up the scoreboard with 46 points in 12 games.
However, team captain Scott said individual stats aren’t the focus, “we’re trying to win games.”
“I think once we just, this might sounds cheesy or whatever, but keep sticking to the process and not focus on the outcome, it’ll come,” said Scott, who leads the team with nine goals and 30 points.
“There’s still more than half the season left, so I’m not really worried about a record right now, but we just have to keep grinding away and chances will come and bounces will come.”
Despite the losing streak, optimism about how the Eagles have grinded out games this month, and against which teams, remains high.
In the five-game losing streak, every team the Eagles faced own a winning record, including the Spruce Grove Saints and Brooks Bandits, the top teams in the north and south divisions.
The effort level has been there, said Milne, adding the Eagles played some of their best hockey in the loss to the Saints.
“As a whole, we’re learning, we’re playing, we’re developing, we’re stepping up in key areas – we just need a little puck luck,” said Milne.
“We’re doing a lot of good things, we’re just that one little thing short of being in the win column.”
The Eagles look to avoid a six-game losing streak on the road Friday (Nov. 18) when they take on the Blackfalds Bulldogs.