AJHL Showcase Starts Thursday in Camrose

Is there parody in the AJHL this season? After two weeks the answer so far is yes. At this time last season, two teams (Mustangs & Lloydminster) looking for their first win of the year. This season every team has at least one win, and there are only two teams (Okotoks & Fort McMurray)  that have yet to lose. It is that time of the year again as the AJHL's annual showcase weekend is set to begin on Thursday afternoon. Every team will play two games in the annual north vs. south matchups.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs split showcase weekend last year. They defeated the Mustangs 5-1 but fell 6-3 to the Canucks. This season the Pontiacs will take on the Mustangs on Friday and Okotoks on Saturday. In 2016/17 the Drayton lost both their games, 7-2 to Canmore and 3-2 in a shootout to Drumheller. This year the Thunder will get Olds to start Showcase on Thursday, and then Friday Drayton Valley will take on Canmore. Fort McMurray had a perfect weekend last year as they beat Brooks 4-2 in their first game and then in a shootout edged Drumheller 5-4. This year the Oil Barons will get the Canucks on Friday and Camrose on Saturday to finish off the Showcase. Grande Prairie had a tough Showcase Weekend last year as they fell 5-4 in overtime to Camrose and then were edged by Olds 3-2. The Storm will get Brooks on Friday before taking on the Mustangs on Saturday. Last year the Lloydminster Bobcats were the last team to earn a victory, and unfortunately for them, it didn't come at Showcase Weekend. The Bobcats dropped a 2-1 decision to Okotoks and a 4-2 setback to the Mustangs. Lloydminster will take on Drumheller on Thursday before taking on the Oilers on Friday. Sherwood Park would earn a split last year beating Brooks in a shootout 5-4 but lost 5-3 to Okotoks. This year the Crusaders will look to pick up four points as they take on Canmore on Thursday and Olds on Saturday night. Spruce Grove needed extra time in both of their games last year, winning 3-2 over Canmore before losing 1-0 in overtime for both games. The Saints will take on Brooks on Thursday before meeting up with Drumheller on Saturday. The defending North division champion Whitecourt Wolverines earned a 3-2 overtime victory over the Grizzlys but then were tripped up by the Canucks 6-2. Once again the Wolverines will take on the Canucks, that game will be on Saturday, but before that, they will take on Camrose on Friday.

 Last year wasn't kind to the defending AJHL Champion Brooks Bandits as they were only able to earn a single point in their two games, falling 5-4 in a shootout to Sherwood Park and 4-2 to Fort McMurray. The Bandits will get Spruce Grove on Thursday and Grande Prairie on Friday. The Canucks put up six goals in each of their games last year beating Whitecourt 6-2 and Bonnyville 6-3. This weekend the Canucks will take on Fort McMurray on Friday and Whitecourt on Saturday. The Mustangs earned their first win of the season at Showcase Weekend last year. They lost their first game 5-1 to Bonnyville before defeating Lloydminster 4-2. Friday the Mustangs will take on Bonnyville before getting Grande Prairie on Saturday. Showcase Weekend host Camrose Kodiaks picked up a pair of overtime wins last year, 5-4 over Grande Prairie and 1-0 over Spruce Grove. This year the Kodiaks will take on Whitecourt on Friday and Fort McMurray on Saturday. The Canmore Eagles found quite a bit of success last year at the Showcase Weekend. The Eagles lost 3-2 in overtime to Spruce Grove but then rebounded to beat Drayton Valley 7-2 to pick up three of a possible four points. Thursday the Eagles will take on Sherwood Park and then follow that up with a matchup against Drayton Valley on Friday. Like Canmore, the Drumheller Dragons picked up three of a possible four points last year. Both of their games went to a shootout, they defeated Drayton Valley 3-2 but fell 5-4 to Fort McMurray. This year the Dragons will take on Lloydminster on Thursday and then take on Spruce Grove on Saturday. Drumheller will play an extra game this weekend as they will host the Olds Grizzlys on Sunday afternoon. The Okotoks Oilers thoroughly enjoyed Showcase Weekend as they beat Sherwood Park 5-3 and then edged Lloydminster 2-1. This year the Oilers will put their perfect 5-0 record against Lloydminster on Friday, and Bonnyville on Saturday. The Olds Grizzlys earned three points at last year's Showcase, falling 3-2 in overtime to Whitecourt before knocking off Grande Prairie 3-2. The Grizzlys will take on Drayton Valley on Thursday to open Showcase Weekend and then finish off with the final game of the weekend against Sherwood Park. Olds will then travel to Drumheller on Sunday to take on the Dragons.

Story by Chris Colwell