July 20th, 2024

Copperheads set to clash with Cubs in playoffs


By Lethbridge Herald on February 23, 2024.

Cindy Adachi Photo Coaldale Cpperheads golaie Nixon Ordway makes a save during a game earlier this season.

By Justin Seward

Lethbridge Herald

The Coaldale Copperheads are bound to be in a fierce battle against rival Medicine Hat Cubs to open up their Heritage Junior Hockey League playoffs tonight.

“We believe that being healthy and rested going into playoffs, especially against Medicine Hat, is important,” said Copperheads co-coach Geoff Oster.

“So we’re taking that approach to it. Other than that, we’re just going over some systems in video and on the board (and) making sure all (of) our guys are on the same page.”

Scoring first  will be key in getting off to a good start against the Cubs.

“For us to be able to strike first and quickly, that would definitely help us,” said Oster.

The Copperheads will have to be able to skate with the Cubs.

“They’re a good team and they skate well, and they play hard and you got to be able to keep up with them,” said Oster.

Oster sees the Cubs as a team that wants to win.

“They work hard, they play their system very well and they want to win,” said Oster.

“And when you face them, you know that they want to win. They forecheck hard, they can score. If  I’m not mistaken, they’re the most dangerous team while shorthanded in the league … We need to be very efficient on our powerplay and make sure that we’re not making mistakes because they’ll take advantage of that.”

The Copperheads will look for the similar effort from the last time they played the Cubs in a 7-4 win on Feb. 3, in hopes of knocking them off.

“We struck first, and we kept the foot on the gas and we kept the pressure up, and we skated with them and we just kept it simple,” said Oster.

Coaldale will look to players such as Brogan Booth, Nolan Price, Caden Heins , Nathan Verloop and Peyton Twigg to lead the way.

“Offensively, they been very good for us,” said Oster.

The coaching staff will depend on all six of their defencemen to have strong games.

“The key for them is to be able to move pucks and move them quickly and efficiently,” said Oster.

Game 1 is tonight in Medicine Hat at 7:30 p.m., Game 2 is back in Coaldale on Sunday at 4 p.m., Game 3 will be back in Medicine Hat on Wednesday (8:30 p.m.), Game 4 (if necessary) is on Thursday in Coaldale at 8:30 p.m. and Game 5 (if necessary) is next Saturday in Medicine Hat at 7:30 p.m.

The Copperheads went 1-3 against the Cubs during the regular season.

Medicine Hat and Coaldale finished second and third respectively in South Division.

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