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Copperheads in third place after 1-1 weekend in HJHL play

Posted on December 14, 2023 by Sunny South News

By Garrett Simmons
Sunny South News

The Coaldale Copperheads earned an exciting home win Saturday in Heritage Junior Hockey League but fell flat in a Sunday contest in Strathmore.

A 1-1 weekend puts the junior squad firmly in third place in the South Division with 35 points, behind Medicine Hat’s 37 points and first-place Okotoks with 40 points.

Saturday’s 7-6 shootout win over Airdrie featured a furious Coaldale comeback, as the Copperheads fell behind 3-0 after 20 minutes of play, and then trailed 4-0 early in the second period.

Drew Constant started the comeback effort with a goal in the second to make it 4-1, as Rylan Bruns drew the assist. Nathan Verloop then made it 4-2 on a goal assisted by Caden Heins and Griffin McCulloch, as the teams went to the dressing room after 40 minutes.

After Airdrie made it 5-2 early in the third, Brogan Booth responded for the Copperheads on a goal assisted by Kobe Fujita and Sean Burns.

An Airdrie powerplay goal made it 6-3, as it looked like the Copperheads would see the comeback effort extinguished.

But goals from Brinley Degenstein (assisted by Bruns and Rylan Millo), Peyton Twigg (from Heins and McCulloch) and Bill Hounenagnon (assisted by Heins and McCulloch) brought Coaldale all the way back.

Overtime solved nothing, as the teams went to the shootout. Tyson Sandhu was the lone Airdrie goal scorer, as Fujita and Nolan Price tickled the twine for the Copperheads, to help Coaldale to a 7-6 win.

Joseph Rolfson and Kaiden Fulton split goaltending duties, as Coaldale outshot Airdrie 37-29 in the contest. The Copperheads went ½ with the man advantage and Airdrie was 1/3.

The momentum of that come-from-behind win did not carry over Sunday, however, as Strathmore skated to a convincing 8-2 win for the Wheatland Kings.

It was 1-1 after the first period, however, despite the fact Strathmore held a 20-6 advantage on the shot clock. Heins opened the scoring in the game, as Fujita and Bruns drew assists, before Strathmore tied things up.

The floodgates opened in the middle frame, as Strathmore scored five times to take a commanding lead into the third.

Strathmore scored twice more in the final 20 minutes and led 8-1, before Potts scored a goal, assisted by Constant, to round out the scoring.

Fulton and Rolfson again split time in net, as Strathmore directed 55 shots on goal to Coaldale’s 23.

This weekend, the Copperheads will travel to Airdrie on Friday and will then take on Okotoks in an 8 p.m. game in Coaldale on Saturday.

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