BEAVER BANK: Ryan Francis is starting to find his groove with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

While the Beaver Bank forward knows he has a tough hill to climb—just making main camp from rookie camp itself wasn’t easy—he’s doing his best to leave a good first impression with head coach Marc-Andre Dumont and staff.

Beaver Bank’s Ryan Francis starts the rush out of the Screaming Eagles end in a preseason game against the Halifax Mooseheads on Aug. 23 at the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz. (Healey photo)

“It’s been really fun to play with this great group of guys,” said Francis, speaking about the rookie challenge and the main camp. “I’ve been playing really welly. Hopefully, I can keep it up.”

The coaches saw enough in Francis to start him on the first shift with Kyle McGrath up the middle and much talked about Brooklyn Kalmikov on the wing.

Francis and Kalmikov seemed to be getting some chemistry, and the five-foot-eight Lockview High student said as much in a post-game interview.

Ryan Francis of Beaver Bank is zoned in and focused on the task at hand in warm-up prior to the Screaming Eagles preseason match with the host Halifax Mooseheads at the East Hants Sportsplex in Lantz. (Healey photo)

“He’s an easy player to play with,” said Francis, 16. “He can playmake, he can score, he can do anything. He’s definitely a player to play with.”

He said it felt good to get the goal.

“It was really good to score with lots of people watching and some from my hometown here,” he said.

Francis said the coaches have told him they want him to work on his defensive game, by getting stick on puck, and pushing guys off the puck.

He said the last couple of weeks have been crazy.

“The first couple of practices make you get comfortable and once you are you can start playing the way you can,” he said.

When asked if he sees himself making the Eagles, Francis knows it will be a challenge.

“It’s going to be tough, they have a lot of returning players,” he said. “I think I just need to keep working hard and I can make it.”

Ryan Francis of Beaver Bank was on the opening shift for the Screaming Eagles as they battled the Mooseheads in Lantz on Aug. 23. (Healey photo)