Story and photos courtesy of Johnnie Bachusky/Mountain View Publishing
JASON RECKSEIDLER RETURNS AFTER ABSENCE OF 15 YEARS TO WIN AS AN EMERGENCY BACK-UP GOALIE.
The Eagles Jason Reckseidler make a key stop during the shoot out against the Nanton Palominos on January 15. The Eagles later scored to claim a 6-5 victory.
INNISFAIL - Jason Reckseidler adores the Innisfail Eagles, a love affair that has been in his family for more than a half century when his Dad Ray played for the team from 1967 to 1970.
Reckseidler, who is know by all as Rexy, was a regular netminder for the Birds from 2002 to 2006, and ranks fifth in the team's 75 year history for most games played by a goalie. His father Ray is eighth on the same list.
Rexy is now a member of the Eagles board of directors, and while unofficially retired as a team player, he will do anything for his beloved team, including helping out in practices and joining the squad on the road.
He is officially on loan to the Eagles this season from the Irma Aces of the East Central Senior Hockey League as an emergency backup.
On January 15, he got the call he was needed to be the back up goalie in the home game against the Nanton Palominos.
Everything was going reasonably well until the 13:25 mark of the second period. The score was tied 2-2, but Eagle's starting goalie David Fisher was injured during a pile-up in front of the net. After several anxious minutes, Eagles head coach Brian Sutter turned to his emergency back-up and said, "Rexy, start warming up!"
For the first time in 15 years Rexy was back in action. Nanton scored once against him in the second period, but his teammates fought back and the game was tied 3-3 after 40 minutes.
The Eagles came out in the third flying hard and scored two quick goals to go ahead 5-3. Several times in the final period Rexy was called upon to make big saves. Nanton came back with two but the emergency backup held the fort until the end of regulation.
The game then went into a five minute overtime period. The Eagles could not put one past Nanton's Matt McDonald, and Rexy stoned the Palominos. With overtime over, it was time for a shootout. Rexy made two sensational shootout saves against Nanton and veteran Eagle's forward Kyle Sheen scored the winner.
The Birds outshot Nanton 35-22 and had far more scoring opportunities. However, it was another game of facing adversity as only 14 players were dressed against Nanton's 19, and then the Birds had to rely on an emergency back-up goalie. despite being this season's dominant squad in the senior men's AA Ranchland Hockey League (RHL).
The Eagles Simon Desbiens storms the net on Nanton Goalie Matt McDonald.
Rexy's emergency net minding save seemingly energized the Eagles as they dominated Nanton at home the next day on January 16 with a convincing 5-1 victory. Five different dEagles scored. They outshot the Palominos 48-18. Rexy did not play as newcomer Chance Clark was called in to handle 18 shots.
Nevertheless, the game on January 15. the Eagles' first since December 18, was the type of victory that pleased coach Sutter.
"The goalie (Rexy) made the last save," he said. "As I said, you got to learn something every night, and yes we were shorthanded and that is not an excuse. Winning is never easy or otherwise everybody would do it. Sometimes its not just winning, but how you are winning. We deserved it (win) tonight."
As for Rexy, he said he was surprised to get the call to go in the January 15th game, but being ready is the job of everyone in the Eagles dressing room and he was elated to have the opportunity to return to action for the Birds.
I was born and raised to be an Innisfail Eagle, so it was nice to come back and help out the team and get this win tonight. "It has been what I have been here all year, to help out if I was needed," said Rexy, adding he had "the good butterflies" when he got called to go in the game.
"It's good to have a little bit of nerves to channel that energy into the game, so I like butterflies. If I don't have butterflies, it is harder to get going. I felt great."
With the wins on January 15 and 16, the Eagles now have a perfect RHL regular season record of nine wins and no losses.
The Innisfail Eagles mob emergency back-up goalie Jason Reckseidler after he shut down the opposing Nanton Palominos in a shootout to give the team a hard fought 6-5 victory.
The Eagles game this weekend in Siksika has been postponed due to the closure of the Siksika Sportplex - the game will be rescheduled for a later date. The next Eagles action is January 29/30 when the Lethbridge Lighting are in town for a doubleheader.