The senior ‘AA’ Eckville Eagles ran into an irritated Rocky Mountain House Ram team over the weekend.
The Rams, who according to General Manager/ Defensemen Reed Watts weren’t too pleased about what they read in the Eckville Echo about the Eagles beating them on their own ice 7-2 were looking to repay the favour. The Rams came in and blitzed the Eagles in a game that wasn’t as close as it looked according to Watts.
“They took what I said in the newspaper and used that as fuel,” Watts said. “Apparently a 7-2 loss at home isn’t embarrassing or maybe it was and used that as fuel for this game. We thought they would hand us another win and low and behold they beat us 5-2 and we were lucky it wasn’t more.”
The Eagles did have a 2-1 lead on goals from Coleman Maddox and Matthew Kinnunen, however they would head into the third down 3-2 after some tough Eagle giveaways in their own zone.
“1-0 from five feet in – goal against,” Watts said.
The loss makes this coming weekend even more important with their closest rivals in the standings Whitecourt and Morninville both coming into Eckville this weekend, with Whitecourt playing Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Morinville playing Sunday at 3:30 p.m. both at the Eckville Arena against the Eagles.
“These might be the two most important games of the year,” Watts said. “If we come out like we did against Rocky – we will have a tough seed in the playoffs. We will end up playing one of the highest ranked teams without home ice advantage.”
After the Rocky loss, Watts and the Eagles aren’t taking any teams lightly going forward.
“With Morinville – it will come down to differential with them so to get the win would be huge,” he said. “They are a really good team and they are playing with a purpose. Whitecourt will not be a cakewalk – they are no slouches. We caught them at the beginning of the year sleeping a bit so they will come ready to play. It will be hard fought games both Saturday and Sunday.”
The double-header also plays a part in senior hockey as well.
“We have all played hockey for so long and the double weekend game isn’t new to us,” Watts said. “The older you get the longer it takes for your body to recuperate. We will have a light practice and the guys are doing their best to make sure the bumps and bruises are cleaned up.”
With the team still above .500, interest in the team is growing.
“The fan support is nice,” Watts said. “There was a lot of Rocky fans and a lot of Eckville fans. Everyone at the Christmas Party was curious how the game went. The interest is growing in the Town.”
Watts hopes that interest will continue this weekend.
“Love to see as many faces as we can – fill that barn and get loud,” he said. “These are two really good teams and it will be really good hockey. Bring the family – it’s good entertainment.”