Busy week was ‘playoff test’ for Eagles
Though the Surrey Eagles did not get the results they were looking for last week, winning just twice in five games, head coach Matt Erhart is choosing to focus on the positive.
“It’s definitely a way to get more playoff-ready. That’s how we treated it,” he said Tuesday, which was to be the second straight off-ice day for his tired troops.
“But it was definitely a grind, that’s for sure. I didn’t see my family, didn’t see my wife, for an entire week.”
Last week, the Eagles, who currently sit first in the BC Hockey League’s Coastal Conference, had perhaps the busiest seven days of any team this season. They played Tuesday and Wednesday – both on the road – and then played three games in 2½ days on the weekend, on Vancouver Island and in Powell River.
Wednesday’s game, in Cowichan, was a make-up game from a cancelled contest earlier in the season.
“Normally, I don’t actually think the league is allowed to give us that many games (in a week), but the make-up game kind of changed things,” Erhart said.
Having a tough schedule – playing as many as six times in seven days– will be the norm when playoffs begin next weekend (March 16), however.
“It’ll be good for us, I think, having played these games,” Erhart said. “Even though we only won two, I thought we had pretty good jump in the games we lost... there may have been a little mental fatigue (near the end of the week), but I thought we were pretty good. We really battled.”
The Eagles play their final regular-season game Friday at home against the Westside Warriors, then have a week before playoffs.
Coastal Conference playoff scenarios are still up in the air, and may not be decided until the final regular-season game Sunday. As it stands, only seven points separate first-place from fourth; Surrey can finish anywhere from first to third.
Regardless of opponent, Erhart said no matchup will be easy.
“There’s no difference, really. It’s so tight between the top four teams, that it doesn’t matter if we end up playing Cowichan or Coquitlam, or whoever,” he said. “No matter what, you’re going to have to beat two really good teams to get out of the conference.”