April 22nd, 2018

Cubs optimistic heading into New Year

By Mo Cranker on December 22, 2017.


mcranker@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNmocranker

The Medicine Hat Cubs are heading into the New Year with some optimism, and they’re hoping to end the year on a winning streak.

Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Coaldale Copperheads, the Cubs had earned three wins in six contests and sat just four points out of a playoff spot in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.

“We feel good right now,” said assistant Brandon Stahl. “These last two games are basically playoff games for us. We’re four points out of a spot, so these four points are going to be very big for us.”

At a record of 9-14-0, the Cubs sit four points back of Strathmore, which the team plays Saturday on the road. Stahl says the Cubs feel good overall about the games they’ve played.

“There’s been some good games and some bad, but overall, we can’t complain,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of rookies on the team this year, so we know that things are going to take some time.”

A problem that has plagued the Cubs this year is the second game of back-to-backs, something Stahl says he would like to see fixed.

“They’re definitely not as good as we’d like them to be,” he said. “That’s something we need to work on as a team, and just bring more focus overall. I think a big part of it is the buslegs — there’s no really close road trips for us, none of these places we’re going are very close, so it can be a challenge.”

Forward MacKenzie Fritzler has scored six goals and eight points in 23 games this year and he says the group is feeling good heading towards the new year.

“We’re feeling confident right now,” he said. “We need to get two points tonight and to get two points Saturday.”

Though the team is chasing the playoffs, Fritzler says they focused on one game at a time.

“With Coaldale and Strathmore, we just need to stay focused on one game here,” he said. “These are points we need and we know we need them, and we want to start the new year out fresh and feeling good.”

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