CANMORE – A pair of players made their Eagles debut in a 6-3 victory over Fort McMurray at the Canmore Rec centre on Friday (Jan. 10) evening.
The newly acquired Lukas Jirousek took the opening face-off and was a constant physical force on the Eagles forecheck.
“It’s a total change from Grande Prairie – being here day one it was difficult to get the systems down, but once I got the feel for it, it felt really good. It’s definitely a lot more offensively driven here. It feels really good to be here,” said Jirousek after the game.
Despite not making an appearance on the score sheet, Eagles head coach and general manager Andrew Milne was pleased with Jirousek and Zac Cunningham's debut.
“Obviously it was a lot to ask – they came in late last night and having only a day to prepare, so in that regard I think they did really well. Emotions were high, but I really liked what I saw out of both of them,” Milne said.
The Eagles coaching staff were not the only ones pleased with Jirosek and Cunningham. Defenceman Dylan Witzke also voiced his support for the newest Eagles.
“Zac looked really good out there today he was confident with the puck and did a good job moving it up ice, and Lukas was physical all game which made a difference,” Witzke said.
The Oil Barrons opened the scoring just past the five minute mark thanks to a two-on-one, which Michael Hodge converted. Tristan Kimmen equalized the game at one after striping an Oil Barrons defenceman of the puck and picked off goaltender Evan Fradette's short side.
The teams traded one more goal each to round out the first 20 minutes. With only 31 seconds into the middle frame, Alex Young scored his first of three on the night with assists coming from Zach Carlson and Witzke. The Eagles closed out the second period with two power play goals from Young and Witzke, giving them a two goal lead. In the final frame, on a two-on-one that Connor Lyons set up
Young, for his hat trick, put the final nail in the coffin.
“I’m happy the guys were able to play a full game tonight and give Killer (Kadin Kilpatrick) a chance to see pucks and do what he needs to do,” said Milne. “The back end had some energy tonight. We played the last two games with four d-men, so to have six it really helped everybody out there.”
A few hours before the end of the trade deadline, Milne made three more moves to cap off a busy couple of days. Canmore acquired Cameron Chin from Spruce Grove in exchange for futures. In order to make room for Chin, the Eagles dealt 20-year-old defenceman Brent Schuldhaus to the Olds Grizzlys. The final transaction of the day was the acquisition of Tye Carriere of the Calgary Hitmen.