By Cole Parkinson
Sunny South News
The Snakepit was rocking all weekend long as the Coaldale Copperheads began their new Heritage Junior Hockey League campaign with a pair of home games.
Saturday saw the Copperheads kick things off with their home opener as they welcomed in the Red Deer Vipers for Game 1 of the 2022-23 season. The first period saw a goal from Kaden Booth with Adam Kennedy drawing the assist to open up the scoring. Red Deer would answer back shortly after, and neither team was able to break the tie before the first-period buzzer rang.
The second period saw tons of scoring with Coaldale potting three straight goals with Derrien Tonin getting two of them while Krishan Stocker had the other. The Vipers would add a pair of their own before the end of the period and Coaldale would take a 4-3 lead into the final frame.
While the second period provided tons of offence, the third was a tighter defensive battle, but the Copperheads were able to find some insurance markers. Stocker and Tristan Miller would score goals with less than five minutes in the period to secure a 6-3 win for the Copperheads.
Sean Burns and Tonin also chipped in with two assists each, while Stocker, Koden Lazar, and Tyran Kiss had singles. Aidan Low got the start in net for the Snakes and posted 17 saves on 20 shots. It was a pretty low-shot affair for both sides as Coaldale had four more shots than Red Deer in the game with 24. The Snakes’ penalty kill was on point all night as they went 7-7 in kills, while their power play was equally as deadly going scoring twice in three chances.
The Copperheads had little time to celebrate as Sunday saw the Cochrane Generals come to town for Game 2. The first period saw Cochrane score just before the midway point of the period. While the Generals may have had ideas of taking a 1-0 lead into the intermission, Tonin had other ideas as the Copperhead forward potted a goal with 0:47 seconds left in the period with Burns drawing the assist.
Heading into the second, the Copperheads seemed to draw some momentum from that late goal as they were able to convert on a power play chance just over eight minutes into the period as Brogan Booth found the back of the net and Brandon Creighton had the assist. Just over four minutes later, Tonin would score his fourth goal of the weekend and Lazar collected the assist, and the Copperheads would take a 3-1 lead into the final frame.
While there may have been a short break before the second and their periods, you may not have noticed considering the Snakes continued to find the back of the net. Lazar would put the Copperheads up 4-1 before Stocker would extend that lead to 5-1 with just under 12 minutes left to play. The Generals would finally snap that scoring streak with a goal and cut the lead to three. With the lead at 5-2, the Snakes wanted to put things away and Kennedy would find the sixth goal of the game with 3:40 left to play. When the final buzzer rang, the Snakes had collected a 6-2 win and their second win of the weekend.
Stocker, Creighton, Booth, and Michael Lawson would all collect an assist in the third period. Low was back between the pipes and turned away 32 of 34 shots. Low was the busier of the two goals as Cochrane outshot Coaldale 34-23. The Copperhead penalty kill was stellar once again killing off all six General power play chances. With six chances themselves on the power play, Coaldale scored once.
This coming weekend sees another busy weekend for Coaldale as they have three games on tap. On Friday night, the team travels to High River to take on the Flyers for an 8 p.m. puck drop. The weekend continues with a home game on Saturday as the Copperheads take on their rival Medicine Hat Cubs at 8 p.m. The weekend wraps with yet another home game as High River travels to Coaldale for a 5 p.m. start.
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