League play didn’t begin on a high note for the Sicamous Eagles, but manager Wayne March foresees good things down the road from the largely rookie team.
On Sept. 9, 10 and 14 the team had three exhibition games to get in gear. Results were one win and one loss to the Chase Heat (5-0, 2-1), and a 4-5 loss to the Revelstoke Grizzlies.
League play began with an away game on Sept. 16 against Armstrong’s North Okanagan Knights, in which Sicamous wound up on the losing side of a 7-3 tally.
Sicamous got off to a strong start in the first frame with goals from Brendan Devries and Brendan Wilde (unassisted). Devries potted the team’s third goal late in the second period, with help from Troy McLellan and Brett Bretitkreuz.
The Eagles had a sightly better experience on Sept. 17 when, they took a 4-2 loss from guests the Kamloops Storm. Brad Robinson was responsible for both goals, both made in the third period.
Despite the loss, March says the team had a stronger game.
“The first game was our really just trying to get out feet wet – with all the rookies we have, it will take a few games to get into the groove of things,” said March, noting Chase and Kamloops have a significantly larger contingent of seasoned players.
“It’s a huge learning curve for these kids right now, but I see down the road we’ll be a pretty good hockey team,” says March.
Asked about the large number of penalties coming up in both exhibition and league play, March said it came down to new refs trying to set the tone early, and new rules, particularly in relation to hits to the head.
“Now, with hitting to the head, which is the biggest rule going, it doesn’t matter if the kid’s ducking out of the way and gets clipped, it’s a penalty; any contact with the helmet is a penalty…,” says March. “In junior hockey, you don’t want to ruin a kids career before it’s even started.”
The Eagles’ next game is in Chase on Sept. 23. They’re back home on Sept. 24 to take on the Grizzlies. Game time is 7 p.m.