PHOTO: The Eagles will be minus five key players when they travel north this weekend – Pam Doyle photo
Dilemma – is defined as a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is unambiguously acceptable or preferable.
As the Canmore Eagles head north this weekend for three very difficult road games against the likes of the Camrose Kodiaks, Spruce Grove Saints and Drayton Valley Thunder, Head Coach and General Manager Andrew Milne is certainly facing a substantial dilemma of his own.
With just five games remaining in their 2015-16 Alberta Junior Hockey League regular season schedule, the Eagles currently occupy fourth-place in the Southern Division standings with 54 points, just three points up on the fifth-place Drumheller Dragons. The team that eventually earns the fourth-place spot at the conclusion of the season will enjoy home-ice advantage when the opening round of the playoffs begin in mid-March.
Although the Eagles have played two less games than the Dragons, a tough road trip this weekend could put the Eagles in serious danger of losing their grip on a fourth-place finish.
With regular starters Ryley Risling, Brayden Biccum, Kyle Pauls, Nolan Kurylo and Cole Noble all hobbled with injuries, the Eagles will head north with a very limited lineup.
“The most important thing for us right now is to get our players healthy and ready to play when the playoffs begin in two weeks time,” said Milne. “Despite how important these games are to us in the standings, I won’t play them until they are 100% healthy.”
Unfortunately for the Eagles, all three home teams on this weekend’s road trip boast very strong home-ice records as Camrose is 18-7-1, Spruce Grove is 23-3-2, and Drayton Valley is 15-10-2.
“It is, what it is,” said Milne. “We’ll go up and do our best and see what transpires. Sometimes you just have to take your medicine, swallow it, and hopefully things will get better soon.”
While the Eagles have a heavy schedule this weekend, the Dragons will play just one game this weekend taking on the last-place Calgary Mustangs (11-42-3) at home on Friday night.
The Eagles will wrap-up their regular season with a pair of very important home games next week taking on the Olds Grizzlys (16-37-3) on Tuesday, March 1 and the Dragons on Friday, March 4.
“Regardless of what happens this weekend, we still control our own destiny,” said Milne. “It’s going to be an exciting finish to the season – that’s for sure.”