By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News
After two games in the opening round, the Coaldale Copperheads have found themselves advancing to Round 2 after a two-game sweep of the Kainai Braves. After going undefeated against the Braves in the regular season, the Snakes continued that trend last week as Heritage Junior ‘B” Hockey League playoffs kicked off.
The Copperheads and Braves got their series started on Feb. 8 in Coaldale with the Snakes being the higher seed. With home advantage, the Snakes and Braves went into the second period scoreless before the dam broke and Coaldale potted four goals. The final frame saw each team score once and the game ended 5-1 in favour of the Copperheads. Kaden Booth led the way for Coaldale amassing four assists while Nolan Price had a pair. Krishan Stocker had a goal and an assist, Braiden Burke, Derrien Tonin, Koden Lazar, and Tristan Miller had the other Copperhead markers. Kole Fujita also had a single assist in the victory. Ethan Barrows had the start in goal for the Snakes and he turned away 22 of the 23 Brave shots fired his way.
After the opening win to start the playoffs, the Copperheads were off to Kainai on Friday night. In another high scoring affair, the Copperheads would jump out to an early 5-0 lead in the first period. The second and third periods were just like the first as Coaldale would find the back of the net three and four times, respectively. Kainai themselves would score once in the second and once in the third and fall 12-2 in the game and 2-0 in the series.
Plenty of Copperheads found the scoresheet in the game with Fujita collecting two goals and three assists, Tonin scoring a hat trick and an assist, and Braiden Burke had a goal and two assists. Brandon Creighton, Ryden Rempel, Kaden Booth, Koden Lazar, Kolby James, and Sean Burns had two assists each, Tyran Kiss had a pair of goals, Thomas Johnson, Mason Sande, and Tristan Miller all had a single snipe, and Brogan Booth and Stocker found the score sheet with one assist each. Barrows was back between the pipes for Coaldale and he was stellar again stopping 24 of 26 shots.
With the opening round sweep, the Copperheads now turn their sights to the second round where they take on the Medicine Hat Cubs. The Cubs finished second in the Southern Division with a record of 25-8-3 and 53 points. Over the course of the regular season, the Snakes went 1-5 against Medicine Hat.
With the Cubs finishing the regular season as the higher seed, the second-round series begins in Medicine Hat with two games before returning to Coaldale for Games 3 and 4. Game 1 goes at 8:15 p.m. at the Medicine Hat Kineplex while Game 2 has an 8 p.m. puck drop on Feb. 19. Game time for Game 3 is Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. and Game 4 is Feb. 23 at 8 p.m., both at the Snakepit.
If needed, Game 5 will go in Medicine Hat on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. while Game 6 will be back in Coaldale on Feb. 26 with an 8 p.m. game time, and a potential Game 7 would happen Feb. 27 at 1:30 p.m. at the Medicine Hat Kinplex.