Examining Our Past: Eagles bested by gold-medalist Szabados

This article originally ran Dec. 9, 2016.

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Editor’s Note: This article originally ran Dec. 9, 2016. Due to the pandemic we are tapping into our archives more, particularly for arts and sports. This section will return to its regular schedule when the crisis concludes with Alberta reaching Phase 3 of its relaunch from COVID-19.

By Mitch Goldenberg

Sports Editor

It’s not often Stony Plain Eagles forward Ryan Smyth runs into a Chinook League opponent with more Olympic gold medal hardware than him, but that was the case when No. 94 and his team rolled into Fort Saskatchewan on Dec. 4.

The Chiefs, whom the Eagles swept in last spring’s playoff series, signed a new goaltender in the days leading up to puck drop. Shannon Szabados, with two Olympic golds and four World Championship medals in her trophy case, suited up to backstop Fort Saskatchewan as a side project to her national team duties.

“It’s good for league publicity, but we didn’t think too much of it. We treated her like any other goalie,” head coach Mike Tavaroli said.


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After the teams traded goals in the first period, the Chiefs came out flying in the second period and scored five goals to take command of the game by a score of 6-1. Though the Eagles got within two goals in the third period, they fell 6-4 to the Chiefs despite outshooting their opponent 57-41.

Chiefs head coach Scott Chart rand told the Fort Saskatchewan Record that Szabados injected a higher level of competitive play into the team.

“You don’t win two (Olympic) gold medals and Four Nations cups without having a compete level, so I think it w ill get our guys feeling like we’ve gotta get up there,” Chartrand said. “She’s bringing some good experience and a high level of play.”

Tavaroli said the Eagles couldn’t produce quality scoring chances., leading to their second loss in their past three games.

“A lot of our shots were right in the pads or midsection, we didn’t do a very good job at getting to the rebounds,” Tavaroli said. “We seem to play differently against Fort Saskatchewan than we do against Lacombe or Innisfail. We slip into their style and our structure goes out the window. They capitalized and we had three goals called off, which changes the game.”

With the holidays just around the corner, the Eagles have been playing with smaller lineups lately but still hold second place in the Chinook league with a 6-3-1 record. Szabados will head to Michigan later this month to play in a two game exhibition series with Team Canada versus the U.S., and will return to the Chiefs in January.

If you know of any sports news or events happening in the area email jothomas@postmedia.com


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