CANMORE – Taden Rattie scored twice as the Canmore Eagles battered the Calgary Mustangs 7-3 at home on Tuesday (Sept 4) in AJHL pre-season action.
With the win, the Eagles improve to 2-1 after splitting games against the Olds Grizzlys on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
“Up front was a strength for us,” said Andrew Milne, Eagles head coach and general manager. “The bodies up front, they can play and they can score, it was good to see them rewarded with some offence.”
Along with Rattie, Eagles scorers included Mark Drohan and Tian Rask on the powerplay, with a shorthanded goal from Daly Hamilton and a penalty shot goal from Michael Spafford.
In the final 64 seconds, Max Giangualano put the final dagger in the Mustangs.
In net, third year goalie Thomas Davis had a solid outing and shut down multiple breakaways and provided tough goaltending on penalty kills, which received praise from the head coach.
“Our goaltending was strong, both (Davis) and Logan Dyck, so we’re in a good spot,” Milne said.
“We had a little bit more of a veteran lineup tonight so it was nice to see us put some pucks up and get those goals.”
During the offseason, Milne was busy making moves and acquiring stronger defensive pieces, adding depth on the blueline in Drohan, Aiden West, and Jared Bowman through trades and signings.
Bowman, a third year player, showed his experience out on the ice and got under the skin of the visiting Mustang players.
“The D-core is huge this year, even though a couple of guys left, but it’s huge,” said Bowman. “Everyone competes and everyone contributes and that’s sort of the message we’ve been getting so it’s definitely exciting.”
Bowman’s first pre-season game as an Eagle was against his old team out of Olds, where he spent two seasons.
“They’re a bunch of friends of mine, but once you get on the ice you’re not really friends until after the buzzer goes,” Bowman said. “You just kind of have to block them out and play with the same intensity as you would against anyone.”
While the Canmore Rec Centre is under renovations this month, Tuesday night’s dominant victory was the Eagles’ final home game until Oct. 5 when they host the Okotoks Oilers in the regular season home opener.
Despite going on the road for an entire month, the Eagles aren’t sweating it.
“We’re preparing the guys for it,” said Milne, “and team building starts out on the road. So we’ll get out on the road and play some road hockey and hopefully come together as a team.”
BY JORDAN SMALL
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