By Garrett Simmons
Sunny South News
The regular season is upon us for the Coaldale Copperheads.
Heritage Junior Hockey League action gets going to real this Saturday, as the Snake Pit Arena will be rocking as the Copperheads host High River in a 7 p.m. battle.
Sunday’s home game in Coaldale will feature a 5 p.m. against Medicine Hat, as part of a two-game opening weekend.
But before the regular season kicks off, the Copperheads had some preseason business to take care of, as Coaldale had a pair of exhibition games.
On Saturday, the Copperheads fell 4-2 to the Medicine Hat Cubs, in the preseason opener in Coaldale. It was a low-event game, as Coaldale outshot the Cubs 21-17. The home side fell behind 2-0 after 20 minutes but rebounded with a strong second period. However, despite outshooting the Hat 10-3 in the middle frame, the score remained 2-0 heading into the third.
The teams traded goals in final 20 minutes, as Medicine Hat left town with a two-goal victory.
Sunday, back in Medicine Hat, the two teams battled once again. This time, the Copperheads emerged with a 5-3 win.
Coaldale led 2-1 after the first period but this time, it was the Cubs who turned on the pressure in the middle frame. Medicine Hat directed 18 shots at the Coaldale net, and scored twice in the process, while the Copperheads added a single marker.
With the game tied at three heading into the third, Coaldale kicked it up a gear and scored twice on 13 shots to leave the Gas City with a victory.
Goaltending was the story of the game, as the Cubs could only score three times on 41 shots. Coaldale fired 28 shots at the Medicine Hat net.
The games start for real with weekend, as HJHL regular season play actually begins Friday across the league, as eight teams take the ice in High River, Airdrie, Didsbury and Sylvan Lake.
The 2023/2024 will feature the Copperheads and Colts, along with the Airdrie Thunder, Cochrane Generals, High River Flyers, Mountainview Colts, Okotoks Bisons, Ponoka Stampeders, Red Deer Vipers, Rocky Rams, Strathmore Wheatland Kings, Sylvan Lake Wranglers and the Three Hills Thrashers.