By Jensen, Randy on March 4, 2020.
The Lethbridge Headwater midget 15 Hurricanes start the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League Sutter Cup playoffs Thursday in Calgary.
So it was fitting that as the Canes wrapped up their AMMHL regular-season schedule last weekend with a three-day grind, they got in a dress rehearsal of sorts.
After losing 2-1 to the Calgary CNHA Blazers Friday in Calgary, the Canes had to battle for second place in the South Division with the team they were tied with, followed by a team that had only lost one regular-season game.
With the pressure cranked up, Hurricanes delivered with a pair ties. They skated to a 4-4 draw with the AC Avalanche Saturday at the Logan Boulet Arena before nearly handing the Okotoks Oilers their second loss of the season in a 3-3 draw.
That was just enough to give the Hurricanes second place thanks to their 25-5-7 regular season.
The marathon weekend should serve as a nice primer for what lies ahead at the Sutter Cup.
“It’s awesome,” said Hurricanes forward Malachai North Peigan. “That’s playoff hockey at its finest right there. You have to go hard the whole game. You couldn’t take a minute off, otherwise stuff will fall apart. That prepares us a lot. That gives us a little bit of confidence, but not too cocky, knowing we have to play a full 60 minutes to win a game. I’m ready and I know all the boys are ready. We’ve got to treat our bodies well, get suited up. We’re all pretty healthy.”
The Canes start Thursday in a pool in which they’ll face the Calgary CNHA Canucks (20-13-4), Medicine Hat SEAC Tigers (11-18-8) and the Calgary CRAA Blue (7-25-5).
“It’s three pools this year, so everybody’s involved,” said Hurricanes head coach Geoff Oster. “It’s a round-robin format. The winner of each pool moves on and the team with the best record. They have a wild-card game to determine the semis.
“I think they’re excited, they’re ready. This team really pulls together when the chips are down. They do well that way. It’s a tight-knit group. After 37 games you’re one big family, so you’re going to pull for each other and pick somebody up when they’re down. You’re going to do the little things to help them and I think that’s what they’ve got.”
They’ll now take that to Calgary this weekend.
“The boys are pumped up and ready to go,” said Hurricanes defenceman Carter Cook. “I think it’s a great way to finish the season. We’re going in confident, not too cocky. We spend so much time together. We all go to school together and now we’re all brothers. It’s really close in the dressing room.”
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