The Calgary Canucks got off to solid starts in both of their games over the weekend but weren’t able to get the result they were looking for as they lost in both of their opening games in Olds and Canmore.
Despite the pair of one goal losses, Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Barrett saw how the team will change the results in the win-loss column. “It’s the early season jitters of having leads,” he explained after Saturday’s game. “We need to take advantage of the opportunities we create.”
Those opportunities include a combined 61 shots and 13 powerplays.
He summarized the coaching staff’s feelings about the team’s play: “We like what we see and we’ll get the wins.”
“We’re beating teams; just not on the scoreboards,” he added. “We just got to execute.”
Heading up to Olds on Friday night, the team had plans to spoil the Grizzlys’ home opener. They were well on their way as Derek Thorogood put them up 1-0 early on the powerplay and the team buzzed around the Grizzlys’ end of the ice throughout the first period.
In the second, the home team got back to playing their rugged style, slowing down the speedy Canucks and notching the equalizer early. At the start of the third, they took the lead. After that, the Canucks started throwing a volley of pucks towards the net only to be denied or have their shots blocked.
With five minutes to go, star defenseman Gianni Mangone saw a lane and wired the puck to the top of the net. The goal was quickly disallowed as a Canuck player was in the crease at the time of the goal. The wind cut out of their sails, the boys had a bit of a tough time getting close again though they did spend most of the last five minutes pressing. Olds won 2-1.
On Saturday, it was a trip to the West rather than the North that awaited the Canucks as they rolled into the Canmore Eagles’ barn. Again, the team started hot with both a 2-0 and 3-1 lead early on in the game. The duo of Franz and Janz who were lights out during the pre-season Calgary Cup continued their magic as Franz picked up two goals with Janz making a nice pass on the first one. Kancsal also picked up a first period goal for the Canucks.
After that, the Canucks weren’t able to connect for any goals to pad their lead and the Eagles started to make their charge. They eventually took the lead in the third before keeping the Canucks at bay for the rest of the period, despite the away team’s efforts. Canmore won 4-3.
These two games are part of a five game set of road games to kick off the year. Next weekend, the team travels to Lloydminster and Bonnyville for a couple of games. They also play in Camrose on September 20.
The Canucks don’t play at home until Saturday, September 21 when they greet the Whitecourt Wolverines for the home opener. After that, they greet Camrose on September 23.