By Ryan McCracken on October 3, 2016.
After struggling through the early going and earning their first two points of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League season through shootout losses, the Medicine Hat Cubs finally broke into the win column Sunday at the Kinplex with a rousing 9-3 victory over the Ponoka Stampeders.
Cubs coach JD Gaetan says the team has been building chemistry and steam since the onset of the year, and he feels Sunday’s emphatic victory is a sign of things to come.
“It was great to get the monkey off the back finally. We needed a win like this,” said Gaetan. “I know we have the skill to compete in this league and we just needed this as a confidence booster. You can see it’s coming, for sure.”
After dropping a 5-4 shootout loss to the Three Hills Thrashers on Saturday, Cubs forward Alex Duclos says the team reflected on their efforts and shifted their mentality entering Sunday’s contest.
“Everyone changed up their mindset. We just worked hard, we really wanted this win,” said Duclos, who potted a goal and added an assist Sunday. “It’s been tough but I think we’re just getting our team together. We’re really working hard and I think we’ll change and we will come back this year.”
Gaetan added the back-to-back shootout losses were tough to swallow, but the early test of adversity seems to be paying off in a positive way.
“They’re tough ones to lose but you can see us improving every game,” said Gaetan. “Even (Saturday) we definitely outplayed Three Hills for the majority of the game we just got off to a bad start. ”
Medicine Hat managed to hold Ponoka’s power play unit off the board while building a healthy lead on nine goals from seven scorers, including one power play goal and a late shorthanded marker.
“We’ve been working on our special teams a lot and we’re finding some lines that are gelling together here,” said Gaetan. “We’re building confidence and working hard, it’s just all coming together now.”
Brandon Stahl led the Cubs offence with two goals and an assist, while Josh Dorn had two goals.
Jordan Sears put up a two-goal performance for Ponoka, but it wasn’t enough to keep things close.
Dan Maier locked up the win for Medicine Hat with a 28-save performance.
The Cubs return to action Saturday in Red Deer against the Vipers.