CANMORE – The Brooks Bandits rode into the Canmore Rec Centre on Monday (Dec. 30) and raided the Canmore Eagles in the teams' final AJHL game of 2019.
The top junior team in the nation opened up a commanding 4-1 lead in the opening 10 minutes of the game, chasing the Eagles’ starting goaltender Kadin Kilpatrick from the blue paint after facing just seven shots.
“When you’re down by four against a team like this you know you have to score five and keep them off the scoresheet for the next 50 minutes – that’s hard to do,” said Eagles’ head coach Andrew Milne.
“We needed something to go our way early in the game to help our confidence and it didn’t happen and we ended up chasing the game.”
After digging themselves a 5-2 hole in the first period the Eagles frustration crept into the game as they took seven penalties in a row.
“They are a frustrating team to play for a lot of reasons and I think that was evident in the two games we played against them that penalties cost us. But the penalties we took was when the game was out of reach – it’s just pure frustration from our guys and I feel for them.”
The depth and skill of the Bandits was evident in every facet of the game. The visitors rolled through the home team's lines and consistently skated circles around the Eagles en route to the Bandits' second 8-2 victory in a row against Canmore.
The Eagles will look to regroup in the New Year and hopefully have some players return to the lineup.
In the game against Brooks, the team was down to five defencemen, as Drae Gardiner suffered an injury and Carter Coles was out with an upper body injury.
Milne is confident that Gardiner will return to action over the weekend when the Eagles’ play three games in three days on a northern road trip starting in Fort McMurray on Friday (Jan. 3).
As for Coles, he will remain sidelined for up to two weeks.
“We need to get healthy. Running with only five d-men is not easy and with three games over the weekend we just need to focus on getting healthy,” said Milne.