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Copperheads face must-win game in playoff series with Medicine Hat

Posted on February 29, 2024 by Sunny South News

By Garrett Simmons
Sunny South News

Two hard-luck losses have the Coaldale Copperheads on the brink.

The Medicine Hat Clubs have a 2-0 lead in the Heritage Junior Hockey League best-of-five series, after two overtime losses.

On Saturday, the Cubs came out on top in a 5-4 thriller, and followed that up with a 4-3 win in double overtime in Coaldale.

Game three is set for Wednesday in Medicine Hat, with an 8:30 p.m. puck drop at The Kinplex.

Coaldale had a great opportunity to steal game one on the road, as the Copperheads led 2-0 after a strong first period. Brinley Degenstein opened the scoring for the visitors, as Nolan Price and Tyran Kiss drew the assists.

Bill Houenagnon extended Coaldale’s advantage on a goal assisted by Nathan Verloop and Drew Constant.

The second period belonged to the Clubs, as Medicine Hat scored three straight times to take a 3-2 lead. Peyton Twigg tied it at three with a powerplay goal. Houenagnon and Verloop had assists on the goal.

Medicine Hat took the lead again with a powerplay goal in the third but once again, the Copperheads tied it. Houenagnon and Verloop had assists on another goal, as Rylan Bruns tied things up with 16 seconds left on the clock.

Unfortunately for the Copperheads, the Cubs won it in OT, as the first Medicine Hat shot of the extra frame found the back of the net.

When all was said and done, Medicine Hat outshot Coaldale 39-26, thanks in part to eight powerplay opportunities, as the Hat scored three goals with the man advantage. Coaldale went 1/4 on the powerplay.

Kaiden Fulton was in goal, as he made 34 saves on the evening.

Sunday’s game was a dead-even affair, as three periods and one overtime frame was not enough to declare a winner.

After a scoreless first period, Twigg gave the Copperheads a 1-0 lead in the second, as Degenstein and Caden Heins drew assists.

Medicine Hat opened things up and scored three straight to make it 3-1 before Heins scored on a Griffin McCulloch set up to make it 3-2.

Bruns tied things up in the third on a goal assisted Nolan Price.

After a scoreless overtime period, Caleb Garrecht scored in double OT for the Cubs, to send his team back to the Hat with a 2-0 series lead.

Medicine Hat outshot Coaldale 42-39 and went 0/4 on the powerplay. Coaldale was 0/3.

Nixon Ordway was in goal for the Copperheads and turned aside 38 shots.

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