By Woodard, Dale on January 28, 2020.
The Coaldale Copperheads couldn’t quite topple the league-leading Okotoks Bisons, but didn’t come away from a two-game weekend empty-handed, either.
The Copperheads fell one goal shy in a 6-5 loss to the Bisons Saturday night in Heritage Junior Hockey League play at the Coaldale Sportsplex, but managed to close out the weekend on the right side of another one-goal game, downing the Stettler Lightning 4-3 Sunday in Stettler.
The .500 weekend puts the Copperheads at 23-12-1 into fourth place in a tight HJHL Southern Division, one point behind the Medicine Hat Cubs (23-9-2) and three back of the Cochrane Generals (24-8-2) heading into a crucial final weekend of play.
On Saturday, the Copperheads fell behind 6-3 to the Bisons 45 seconds into the third, but goals by Tyler Anderson and James Halverson a little under three minutes later made it 6-5.
Despite outshooting the Bisons 42-40 the Copperheads were unable to strike for the equalizer.
Ty Abbott, Thomas Johnson and Mason Sande scored the other Coaldale goals in the close home loss.
Tyler Strath had three assists for the Copperheads and Jared Bainbridge and Jayden Bexte had two each.
Brett Vanderveer stopped 34 of 40 shots.
On Sunday in Stettler, the Copperheads scored three third-period goals – two from Sande and another from Bexte – to post the win.
Anderson scored in the first period for Coaldale.
Bexte had an assist for two points and Abbott contributed two helpers.
Vanderveer turned aside 21 shots to earn the win.
The Copperheads return Friday in a key game against the Cubs in Medicine Hat at 7:30 p.m.
The team is back at the Coaldale Sportsplex Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. for their final home game against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings. Saturday’s game is Fan Appreciation Night and the last opportunity to use game tickets, which are not valid for playoffs.