Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Blackfalds Bulldogs
A big weekend that will see over 2500 people at the Eagle Builders Centre to watch the Bulldogs started off on Friday as Blackfalds played host to the Canmore Eagles, a team they’d beat each of the first three times they’d faced off this season. Canmore was coming off a strong 4-0 win over Olds last Saturday, while Blackfalds had won back-to-back games against the Calgary Canucks the weekend prior.
Blackfalds and Canmore set the pace of the game early and the very high tempo would prove to last. In the first period, Blackfalds peppered the Canmore goal, but couldn’t beat Andreai Proctor-Ramirez on any of their 15 first-period shots. Reed Jacobson took a Tyler Loughman pass from behind the net and slotted it past Matthew Hennessey to make it 1-0 with just 34 seconds to go in the first period of play. The ferocious pace and the intense pressure from Blackfalds continued throughout the second period but it was still Andreai Proctor-Ramirez that completely shut the door for Canmore, at least until the 14:18 mark of the second. A Kurt Gurkan centring pass deflected off a skate and sat in the slot for David Brandes to pick it up, spin around, and shoot it through Proctor-Ramirez to tie it up 1-1. The boost for Blackfalds carried into the next shift, with the fourth line scoring just 34 seconds later. Jack Plandowski forced a turnover down low, finding Kody Willick on the half wall. Willick sent it middle to Kasey Hiemstra who was denied by Proctor-Ramirez, but Jack Plandowski followed in and tucked it behind the Canmore goaltender to make it 2-1.
The Bulldogs carried the 2-1 lead into the third period, protecting said lead all the way to the 15:45 mark of the final period. Carter Patterson moved in down the left point and found Kurt Gurkan in front. An intelligent chip by Gurkan found the twine over Andreai Proctor-Ramirez to make it 3-1. Jason Siedem would finish the game off into the empty net to make it four and give Blackfalds a third straight victory overall and a seven-game winning streak on home ice. Gurkan earned first-star for his performance, with his third-period goal only stopped with stellar defensive play.
The Bulldogs move within two points of the Okotoks Oilers for second in the South division, with their game in hand coming tonight against the Brooks Bandits. The first sellout in Bulldogs history comes for a game where Blackfalds has a huge opportunity to move up the standings