The Senior Eckville Eagles season has come to an end, as the team was bested in their five game series by the top-seeded Daysland North Stars.
The Eagles lost their final game on the road 1-6 with the North Stars wrapping up the series in a tidy three game sweep.
“Obviously we are all competitors and it’s hard,” Eagles General Manager and defencemen Reed Watts said. “Losing is not easy but it is what is. It’s hard to stomach and me personally, I hated seeing the face of defeat on my team mates.”
Despite the despair of losing, the Eagles had an optimistic post-game chat in the locker room.
“We had a moment and talked about things,” Watts said. “The fact is that we are a first year team coming into a league that is very competitive with high quality players. This is just the beginning and to make it to the second round and have a two-period lead against arguably the best team in the league means it was a good year. It wasn’t the ending you would have wanted but all said, it was a good year.”
The Eagles started off the year slowly with a sub .500 record, however the quality of play consistently grew which led to a first round victory over the Devon Oil Barons.
“We underachieved in the regular season and we finished where we belong in the playoffs,” Watts said. “Hopefully next year is a different story.”
The loss against Daysland is a little easier to stomach considering that the North Stars only have lost one game in regulation all year.
“Daysland is the team to beat in this league,” Watts said. “Everyone’s used them as a bench mark. You have to build to beat them. Morinville did exactly that – they went and got big and added a lot of skill. I don’t know how many additions we will need to make but Daysland has been together a long time and some of those guys have been playing together since mites. Continuity is definitely something they have under wraps.”
The Eagles late season success came after a sobering loss to their Highway 11 rival.
“We lost a game to Rocky. Hats off to them – they came and played a great game,” Watts said. “That was a point in the season where we really had to look in the mirror and ask ‘Is this the team we are?’ After the Christmas break, we played two against Bonnyville which we lost but we played a great couple games. I saw that as a key turning point to the development of this team.”
This turning point led to a victory over the Devon Oil Barons, which was a sign of things to come according to Watts.
“Devon got us in the season, but we got some justice in the playoffs and played some of the best hockey I have seen this team play,” he said. “We were rolling and we validated our success to ourselves. We’re going to strive to be a championship team year in and year out.”
On top of success on the ice, the Eagles are looking to be active throughout the offseason.
“The Eagles will be out and about getting involved with as many community activities as possible,” Watts said. “We’re trying to get a spot in the parade and to get our golf tournament going again. We’re looking into getting ourselves involved with softball tournaments and if there are charities that need volunteers, the Eagles are more then willing to get involved.”
Watts added “I would like to thank all the fans, sponsors and the volunteers on behalf of our team. You can’t have a team without the volunteers. It’s great to be involved in such an amazing community. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to everyone that came out and got involved with the team.”