CANMORE – Confidence is something the Eagles have struggled with this season, but things look to be improving both on and off the ice.
Since the trade deadline on Jan. 10, the Eagles are 4-1, the team’s best record over a five game period this season.
“We’re four and one in our last five here," said Eagles’ head coach Andrew Milne. "We’ve played pretty good hockey down the stretch and I like the way our group’s coming together heading into the right time of the year."
With the addition of Lukas Jirousek, Zach Cunningham, Cameron Chin and Tye Carriere, the Eagles have bolstered the depth throughout the team's roster. That is evident in the way the Eagles coaching staff has been able to roll through all four lines over the past few games.
“We have four lines that can play and everybody is pushing for opportunities. Guys know they have to work and have to skate – when you play four lines like we’ve been able to everybody’s fresh when they get on the ice and that helps everybody out.”
The ability to spread out the ice time through the four lines has benefited the Eagles’ confidence immensely and as a result the secondary scoring has started to pick up.
“That’s [confidence] something that teenage guys struggle with and I think to get that going right now – guys are feeling good about themselves, the points have been spread all around. Something at the beginning of the season we never had was secondary scoring.”
Milne praised his team's boost in secondary production, in particular the recent performances of Ethan Schaeffer, Kazu Prevost, Tristan Zandee, Michael Spafford and the newly acquired Jirousek and Carriere.
“We are an offensive-forward team," said Eagles’ defenceman Cameron Chin. "All five guys get involved in the offence and I think right now every line can move the puck, every line can skate, every line knows their role and it’s really working well right now."
Despite having a dozen regular season games remaining in the schedule, off the ice the team has one thing on its mind – playoffs. As a team, the Eagles feel positive headed into the post season, and have officially clinched a playoff berth as of Jan. 19.
“We want to make a strong playoff push that’s everyone's goal – we have all bought into the same goal. We want to do that for ourselves as a team and for our fans and the town of Canmore,” said Carriere.
The Eagles’ will close out the month of January with a home game on Friday (Jan. 24) against Okotoks and the team takes on Calgary on Saturday (Jan. 25).