The Eagles kicked off the 2017 portion of their schedule on Wednesday night as they hosted the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs. As the season slowly draws to a close, this matchup was key in the race for second place in the Chinook League standings, as Lacombe will not be caught before the end of the season.
Heading into this mid-week match the Eagles and Chiefs had split the previous two games, but the Eagles found themselves four points up on the Chiefs in the standings up to this point. As well, the Eagles were looking to halt their 3 game losing streak they had heading into the Christmas break.
Vinny Marozzi got the start in goal for the Eagles and boy, was he busy in this one. The action in front of him in the first period was very one sided as you could quickly tell that the Chiefs were playing their 3rd game since Christmas. The shots at the end of the 1st were 20-11 in favor of the visiting Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs. However, due to the sensational goaltending of Marozzi and an opportune goal by Chad Hohmann, the Eagles held a surprising lead of 1-0. Hohmann was able to hit the score sheet as he converted a cross ice pass from Brant Middleton, who recorded his first point as an Eagle.
The tilt in the ice didn’t disappear in the 2nd period as the Chiefs continued to pepper the Eagles net with shots, the advantage wasn’t as large on the shot clock as the Chiefs outshot the Eagles by a count of 13-9 in the period. However, the Chiefs converted three times in the period and raced out to a 3-1 lead before 40 minutes were up. Again, Marozzi made many key stops in the frame to keep the home side within striking distance.
As the 3rd kicked off the Eagles looked to get back into the game and try to cut into the two goal deficit, and they were able to accomplish just that, as Burke Gallimore got off the shnide and sifted one through the Chiefs netminder. The Gallimore goal came just 1:17 into the period and the Eagles found themselves down 3-2. It was a valiant effort by the Eagles as they scratched and clawed to get back into the game but they were unable to capitalize on the chances that they had. Before the final horn went, the Chiefs took a 4-2 lead with 5:02 showing on the clock, Williamson got the Eagles back within one as he converted a powerplay opportunity with 57 seconds remaining. This was the closest the Eagles would get as the Chiefs buried an empty netter just 34 seconds later to seal the victory. The final result was a 5-3 victory for the visiting Chiefs.