Halloween may be a couple of weeks away but Colton Young’s hockey bag is already filling up with some sweet candy.
The second-year forward recorded back-to-back hat tricks and treated his team to wins in the process. His latest three-goal outing came as the Canmore Eagles defeated the Calgary Canucks 7-0 before 417 fans at the Canmore Recreation Centre on Saturday night.
“It just seems like the puck is finding me and I’m finding the back of the net. I’m just in the right place and right time, I guess,” said the 19-year-old from Calgary, who also has consecutive four-point games with an assist in each contest. The other hat trick game was Friday’s 6-5 win over the Calgary Mustangs. He now leads the Eagles in scoring with 13 points (8 goals and 5 assists) form eight games – he was suspended for the first three games of this season.
Thomas Davis was outstanding in goal in this Alberta Junior Hockey League clash between two teams going in opposite directions. Davis made 42 saves as the Eagles won for the fourth consecutive time to climb to six wins and five losses on the season and a share of third place in the South Division. While, the Canucks lost for the third successive time and at three wins and seven losses are eighth and last in the South.
Davis (5-4, 3.90 GAA, .902 save-pct.) said he doesn’t mind facing 40-plus shots a game.
“I definitely like taking more shots. It’s always fun when you take 40,” said Davis. In the first week of this season, the 19-year-old from St. Albert made 41 and 47 saves in back-to-back wins over the Calgary Mustangs and was named AJHL defensive player of the week.
Davis’s most challenging save came late in the third period when Canuck Zach Russell was unchecked on the left wing post and looked to have nothing but net in front of him.
“It was my skate blade that caught it,” said Davis, of stretching out his right leg to take the scoring opportunity away. “My eyes went really wide when I saw it go to the side of the net and (Russell) was wide open. I just tried to get there.”
The second-year goaltender was appearing in his 29th regular-season game as an Eagle, having been obtained from the Camrose Kodiaks near the start of last season.
Quinton Ong had a a three-point game, with two goals and one assist.
Coy Prevost, who was named team captain this week, scored once. Travis Verveda, Trevor Van Steinberg and Jarell Pinchuck were named alternate captains.
Verveda scored and had two assists in the game. Van Steinburg had two helpers.
“We did a good job tonight. We prepped our guys pretty well and we were prepared for what the Canucks were going to bring in,” said Milne. “I think things got away from us for a little while in the second period but Davis was outstanding and did a great of holding us in.
“Overall, everybody did a great job for what they had to do.”
The Canucks outshot the Eagles 42-33, with 23 of those shots coming in the second period. Ben Laidlaw (1-2, 5.25 GAA, .837 save-pct.) played the first two period for the Canucks, giving up five goals on 28 shots, with Caiden Kreitz taking over in the third period and getting beaten on two of five shots he faced.
The Eagles were 3-for-9 on the power play against the most penalized team in the league. The Canucks were 0-for-4. The game featured 167 penalty minutes, including 11 misconducts.
Ong had the lone first-period goal coming on the power play with 22 seconds remaining.
The flood gates opened in the second period led by Young’s first goal at just 36 seconds. Before the period had ended Young had his second followed by Ong’s second and Prevost.
In the third period, Young and Verveda added power-play goals to the total.
In the opening minute of the third period, Young’s night looked to be over when he collided with Canuck Coby Mack. The Canmore forward was prone the ice for several seconds clutching his right knee before being helped off the ice by trainer Dino Senn and a teammate. He did go to the bench and not the dressing room. Several tense minutes later with everyone looking on and possibly fearing the worst but hoping for the best, he took his first tentative skate back on the ice.
Then on his first shift after the incident, on a power play, Young would take a pass at the left wing face-off dot, skate through the slot and slide a backhander into the far side of the goal to complete his hat trick.
It’s been quite a four-game run for Canmore which has outscored the opposition 24-11. After starting the season with two wins, the Eagles then lost five consecutive games and were outscored 29-7 in those games.
“I think it is just an indication of how hard the guys are working, and guys are contributing,” Milne said of the last four games. “What we have seen here is players buying [into the system] … when they play with confidence you have a better club.”
Young voiced a similar comment.
“We trust in the system the coaching staff has provided for us,” said Young. “It seems like we are in the right spots at the right times, using our speed and getting into position so when we get the puck it is going in.”
Canmore’s season continues at the Canmore Rec Centre this week with a game Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (6-1-1, second in the North Division).
EAGLES NEST: Canmore also travels to Bonnyville on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) to take on the Pontiacs (4-5-0, sixth in the North) and ) and Lloydminster on Sunday (2:30 p.m.) against the Bobcats (3-7-0, third in the North). … D Adamu Tanaka left the game after the first period as a precautionary move after taking a hard hit. … The Eagles released 19-year-old F Evan Katelnikoff, who appeared in just four games this season and registered one assist. He played 28 games in the 2016-17 season and counted two points (1G-1A). … Canmorite Jacob Bernard-Docker, a defenceman with the Okotoks Oilers, has been given a C rating by NHL Central Scouting, which means the 17-year-old is a potential fourth through sixth round selection in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. Bernard-Docker has committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2019. … Bonnyville’s 7-2 win over the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Oct. 3 was overturned to a Sherwood Park forfeit victory as the Pontiacs were found guilty of using an ineligible player in the game. … The Eagles’ biggest fundraiser of the year is the Bow Valley Blue & White Night on Oct. 27, with comedian Kevin Stobo, who hails from Banff, and fire eater Carisa Hendrix ready to entertain at Silvertip Resort. Tickets are $55 and available online at tickets.canmoreeagles.ca, by debit or cash at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Canmore Recreation Centre during the first intermission of any upcoming Eagles’ home game.
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