BOW VALLEY – The Canmore Eagles clawed to an even record in November, the first time they hit a .500 month this season, as the junior A team still tries to put all the pieces together.
The Eagles power play flatlined when it mattered most Tuesday (Nov. 28) in their 3-1 loss to the Drumheller Dragons at the Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre in Banff.
Going one-for-10 on the man-advantage, head coach Andrew Milne said "it let us down tonight."
“It had opportunities to win us the game and it was ineffective,” said Milne.
Prior to the game, the Eagles power play was at just under 20 per cent efficiency.
Milne added the team lacked intensity out of the gates. He expected more punch against the Dragons, which eliminated the Eagles from the first round of last year’s playoffs.
“We could have been a bit more hungry,” said Milne. “I thought, at times, we looked fatigued and that probably cost us in some of those areas.”
The Eagles went 6-6 in November and sit 12th in the league after 29 games. Nearly halfway through the 62-game season, the inexperienced team is still finding their footing, said Milne.
“We’re a young group learning the process,” said Milne. “We didn’t have a good start [to the season]. Mentally we were a bit weak - probably fragile mentally, and it’s taken a bit of a challenge to get through it.”
Eagles rookie forward Haruki Morikawa said the team had its ups and downs, but they’re trying to have a consistent effort each day.
“We know we can handle these top teams and we know we can take it to them,” said Morikawa. “Some teams can’t handle us when we are at our best so we just have to keep that up.”
Raised in Banff, Morikawa’s parents and friends were at the forward’s junior A debut at home, with nearly 1,000 fans in attendance.
It was the first of two anticipated games in Banff this season, which are known for having energetic crowds eagerly awaiting to smack the glass when players grind it out along the boards and cheer on big plays and hits.
“It was a lot of fun playing in front of the hometown crowd,” said Morikawa. “I’ve been to these games as a fan, so I kind of expected it from this game.”
The Eagles return to their home nest at the Canmore Recreation Centre Friday (Dec. 1) at 7 p.m. against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Sunday (Dec. 3) at 2 p.m. against the Bonnyville Pontiacs.