The NCHL’s Eckville Eagles played their first games as a franchise on the road.
On October 1, the Eagles travelled to Edson to battle the Ice, who were coming off a game the night before in Rocky versus the Rams. Owner and player Reed Watts believes that’s why the Eagles were able to capitalize early.
“We really hopped on them and took it to them,” Watts said. “We scored two in the first and it could have been more but their goalie held them in there. We put five in the net in the second and then three more from there.
“We played our style and didn’t give them any scoring chances,” he added.
Not giving the Ice any room lead to the final score of 9-0, something that Watts entirely credits to the work of the Eagle’s defense.
“It’s a little deceiving,” he said. “We are a good offensive team, but its more because we own our zone. We don’t allow anyone any chances and then we are quick out of our zone with the puck. The best defense is played when you are holding the puck and cycling it in their end.”
The Eagles would play the next day against the Whitecourt Wild. The game would be played in Mayerthorpe because ice time is at a premium in Whitecourt. The game would be a much tighter affair then the previous night.
“We had three goals early and then we got away from the game plan and coughed up the lead,” Watts said. “The boys rallied and re-took the lead and that was it.”
The Eagles would go on to win the game 4-3. The weekend was good for the new team’s chemistry, according to Watts.
“It was great,” he said. “There is nothing like a road trip to bring a team together and there is a lot of new faces on the team, so we got to know each other.”
The Eagles continue their early season road trip on October 8, where they will face the Morinville Kings. The team will have their full roster, and Watts is looking forward to building on their early victories.
“We made a couple more additions so we are looking forward to getting them out,” he said. “In this league, you have to have a really good October. If you want to win the league, you have to start hot.”
Eckville will have their first opportunity to watch the Eagles on October 15, when they will face off against the Devon Barons at 8:30 p.m. at the Eckville Arena.
“Devon will be a strong team,” Watts said. “They’ll push the pace and will be firing on all cylinders. They have a good coach that is pushing them hard.
“We played them in the playoffs last year and we took them out in five. We want to prove to them that we are still the better team.”
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Watts added that “last weekend was a great weekend and we couldn’t ask for a better start and we hope to take it forward.”