The Airdrie CFR Chemicals Bisons hockey team held off a late surge from the Maple Leaf Beverly Optimists on Jan. 23 to record a 5-4 victory, and maintain fifth place in the Alberta Elite Hockey League's (AEHL) U18 AAA South Division.
Spencer Kunz, Noah Edstrom, Drew Williamson, Aidan Doornbos and Carsyn Crawford scored for the hosts, with all five of the Bisons' goals coming in the first two periods.
Airdrie took a 4-2 lead in a high-scoring first interval, before extending their lead to three goals roughly seven minutes into the second period.
The visitors pulled one back to bring the score to 5-3 as the teams headed into the final stanza.
The Optimists did their name proud in the final interval, piling on the offensive pressure. Their attacking efforts paid off with a goal from Flynn Maxcy mid-way through the third period that brought the score to 5-4.
But Airdrie held on for the win, with goaltender Austin White saving 29 of 33 shots.
The victory keeps the Bisons in playoff contention, with seven games left to play in the AEHL regular season. After 31 games, Airdrie boasts a 12-12-7 record. The team is chasing its first berth in the AEHL playoffs since the team relocated to Airdrie from Strathmore five years ago.
The Bisons will be back on the ice in Calgary on Jan. 29 to face the division-leading Calgary Buffaloes, before returning home the following afternoon to take on the South Side BP Athletics at 4:30 p.m.
February will see Airdrie's U18 AAA hockey team play mostly on the road during the final stretch of the regular season, with away games scheduled against the Calgary Northstars, Fort Saskatchewan Rangers, Leduc Oil Kings, and Okotoks Bow Mark Oilers. The Bisons' only home game of February is on Feb. 6, against Okotoks.
For a full schedule, visit u18aaa.ca