With the AAA Estevan Bears set to play their 20th game of the season Thursday night in Moose Jaw, we caught up with first year Bears head coach Ryan Pilon to discuss the season so far, which players have stood out, and what his first season has been like for him personally.
Here is our Q and A:
What is your assessment of your team through the first 19 games?
We got out to a little bit of a rocky start, starting out 1-8 there. But the next 5-6 games after that we've been playing some good hockey. We're getting back closer to that .500 mark. We've played some good hockey lately...we're headed in the right direction right now.
Which players have stood out so far?
Kole Keen has been really good for us. We use him in all situations...he plays a lot of minutes. He's finding that goal scoring touch that he has. He's playing with Blaze Gutzke on a line and they've been consistent for us so far.
Which returnees from last year have taken that next step in their development?
I think all of them have. I know with our goaltending, Kaden Perron has taken a huge step with us in the last 10 games. He's really found his game and he's given us that steady goaltending back there. And then our two horses on the back end with Jase Konecsni and Cutter Knight, they've been eating a lot of minutes for us, playing important minutes for us. And they've taken that step in their development and their process. It's been a welcome surprise for me, and they're the guys we lean on in the tough minutes.
What are some areas you'd like to see improved in the second half?
I think goal scoring can always improve. We've had a tough time scoring goals through out the year. With development and some confidence, that'll come. We've played the majority of our home games already, so we know we're going on the road a lot in the new year. Just staying prepared and consistent and finding that confidence playing on the road.
What has the season been like for you personally?
It's been really good, it's been a lot of fun. With 15,16, and 17-year-olds, there's always new challenges every day. Me and my fiance have enjoyed the City of Estevan here. They've been very welcoming.