After winning just eight games last season, the Apple Valley Eagles have surprised more than a few observers with a team that appears ready to soar past that number and beyond. With a pair of victories last week (5-2 over Eastview and 5-3 over Rosemount), the Eagles are already at 10-6-0 with nine regular season games remaining. They've been paced by a strong offense, led by Chris Fischer, Colton Warner and A.J. Michaelson and great defense in front of goaltender Aaron Gretz. Unfortunately, they'll have to tighten up even more as Fischer was recently knocked out with a separated shoulder. He's hoping to get back in the lineup to help Apple Valley by the playoffs, however.
Fischer recently did a Q and A with the Breakdown to discuss his hockey history, the best part of playing high school hockey and Apple Valley's season thus far.
The Breakdown: How did you get started playing hockey? Do you have older siblings/parents who have also played? And what is your favorite moment playing hockey?
Fischer: My dad put me on skates when I was two and the rest was history. My brother David plays for the U of M. (His favorite moment was) beating Eden Prairie in the final seconds my second year Pee Wees.
The Breakdown: What kind of training do you do for hockey, both in- and off-season?
Fischer: In the off-season Erik Westrum has a program that we got to. Lifting, jumping, running, ice time, drills, etc. Its pretty good, he works along with us. In-season we lift twice a week. I try to skate outside when I can, pick-up hockey stuff.
The Breakdown: Give me a short scouting report on yourself as a player. What are your strengths?
Fischer: I think I see the ice pretty well and know what plays to make and when to make them. My speed is good. I like to bring some intensity to the game. My dad wants me to switch to defense, he said there are a lot of good forwards but smart, puck-moving defenseman are tough to find. I wouldn't mind switching but I would need some practice.
The Breakdown:This is the cliche question, but what player did you grow up following for perhaps style of play?
Fischer: Mike Carmen.
The Breakdown: What's the best part of playing high school hockey and why?
Fischer: Playing with friends who you have been skating with since mites. The competition is good also, the Lake Conference is tough. Dreaming of making it to the State Tourney at the X.
The Breakdown: Tell me about the start for Apple Valley thus far...you've had a very good beginning.
To what do you attribute that? And do you think you can keep it going?
Fischer: Yea, we started pretty strong. Good goaltending and our power play was working. Then we hit a slump where we weren't scoring. Now we have won two in a row, our power play is picking up. The younger guys are really starting to contribute and that will help in the stretch run. One bad thing, I just separated my shoulder against Rosemount and will be out for a while. I hope to get back soon, I really would hate to miss the playoffs, nothings beats section playoff hockey.
The Breakdown: What do you see as your team's biggest challenges over the final two months of the season and what do you need to do to reach your ultimate goal of getting to state?
Fischer: Our power play and goaltending has to be consistent. The younger guys have to keep contributing. No more injuries.
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