To say these two teams are evenly matched would be understatement at this point, as the Drumheller Dragons and Canmore Eagles needed overtime for the fourth time in as many games.
With the Eagles on the ropes, the Dragons came into Game 4 looking to punch their ticket to Round 2 with a win, just one day after escaping Game 3 with an overtime victory and the 2-1 lead in the series. The win came at a cost however, as the Dragons would be without their leading scorer #14 Jordan Taupert, as well as one of their hottest scorers, #13 Roc Truman who were both scratched from the lineup due to injury. With three affiliate players called up to fill the roster spots and backup goaltender, #1 Daniel Allin, in net for the Dragons, it was certainly a different looking lineup for Drumheller on Monday night (March 11). It was a fact not lost on Eagles head coach, Andrew Milne, who wants his team to continue to play physical and push the tempo in Game 4.
“We’re a pretty heavy team when we want to be and when we got on the forecheck we noticed the momentum shift a little bit,” explained Milne, when assessing his team’s Game 3 performance.
“Obviously they’re a depleted lineup with Nicholetts out and Edwards,” Milne continued. “Taupert leaves early in the game and then Truman leaves. It’s unfortunate that the bodies were falling from their end of it, but it’s a positive on our end of it, as obviously those are some real good players.”
It was the Eagles who came out flying to start the game. The ice was tilted in the first period, as Canmore peppered the Drumheller net with shots all period long. Allin stood tall in net and weathered the storm stopping 22 shots. The Eagles would outshoot the Dragons 22-7 in the first period.
Scoreless heading into the second frame, it was the Eagles who continued to push the pace. Allin did what he could to stop the barrage, but eventually Canmore took the lead on a goal by #23 Tian Rask. The game would stay that way until the third period where, with time ticking down, the Dragons were pressing with chance after chance, hitting a post in the process, but #35 Thomas Davis was proving to be too much on this night. That was until #10 Scout Truman broke in alone and stick-handled to the forehand to tie the game up 1-1 at the 12:59 mark of the period.
Again, overtime would be required. This time however, the Eagles’ season was on the line. It took just minutes before a heart-wrenching surge came from the Dragons, who did all they could to try and end the game with three chances in front. But their drive was turned aside by a sprawling Davis.
The Eagles would work the puck back up the ice and minutes later #23 Tian Rask would fire home the O.T. winner (3:07) and send the series back to Drumheller for a decisive Game 5 on Wednesday night. (March 13).