Eakin finds his range

KEN WIEBE

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

Cody Eakin is hoping this will merely serve as an important dress rehearsal.

The Swift Current Broncos sniper will suit up for the Western Hockey League in the Subway Super Series against Team Russia tomorrow in Victoria, B.C. While that's a thrill in itself, the Winnipegger's hot start has him looking like a lock to get an invitation to Canada's final world junior evaluation camp early next month.

"It's something that was in the back of my head," Eakin said yesterday from Swift Current, Sask. "I didn't want to pressure myself and you don't want anything to slow you down or jinx you out. I've been working hard and I'd love to get another shot like I did this summer. That was a good experience for me."

Although he wasn't originally invited to attend the summer evaluation camp in Calgary, an injury to Barrie Colts forward Stefan Della Rovere opened the door for Eakin and he took full advantage.

Provided all goes well over the next few weeks, Eakin could be among those chosen to try and help Canada go for a sixth consecutive gold medal in Saskatoon at the world junior hockey championship.

That call would cap a whirlwind six-month stretch for Eakin, who was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the third round (85th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal in late June.

Following his first training camp with the Capitals, Eakin returned to the Broncos and got off to a blazing start.

With 36 points in 28 games, Eakin is tied for ninth in WHL scoring and his 24 goals are the most in all of Tier I junior hockey.

"I don't know, it's just one of those things and it can change any game," said Eakin. "I have to try and stay consistent and keep doing the things I've been doing this season so far. Hopefully I'll continue to have some good luck and success."

Those 24 goals equal what Eakin recorded last season with the Broncos -- in fewer than half as many games.

"I wanted to improve in every aspect in my game -- offensively, defensively and in little things like draws," said Eakin. "As far as point-wise, I didn't know what to expect."

The Capitals caught Eakin by surprise when they offered him a three-year, entry-level contract on Oct. 20.

"That was pretty surreal," said Eakin. "I thought it could happen at the end of the year, but I feel like I worked hard for it. Obviously, they feel the same way. It was an exciting time for me personally, but we have bigger goals here that I have to focus on."

The Broncos are currently 13-11-0-2 and sit sixth in the highly-competitive East Division standings.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca


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