July 17th, 2024

Cubs look to bounce back from Game 1 loss

By JAMES TUBB on February 23, 2023.

NEWS PHOTO JAMES TUBB Medicine Hat Cubs defenceman Dylan Trembecki eyes up his target in the first period of their 6-5 Game 1 semifinals loss against the Cochrane Generals on Tuesday at the Kinplex.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

The Medicine Hat Cubs have a couple days to stew over Tuesday’s loss in Game 1 of the Heritage Junior Hockey League’s best-of-seven semifinal.

The Cubs fell 6-5 against the Cochrane Generals at the Kinplex and trail in the series 1-0.

Head coach and general manager Randy Wong says after the game they discussed making sure the whole team was contributing come game time.

“We talked about making sure we have more guys toeing the line and working hard. Work ethic changes a lot of things,” Wong said. “When you’re kind of hesitant and you’re sitting back, you’re giving them opportunity, and we gave them too many opportunities.”

Cochrane opened the scoring early in the first period and the two teams traded goals through 40. Medicine Hat led 5-3 heading into the third.

Less than halfway into the final frame the Generals scored twice to tie the game and then take the eventual winning lead of 6-5. Wong says he saw frustration build offensively and players be a little too selfish with the puck.

“You want to be the guy to be the difference maker and sometimes that creeps into your mind that you’ve got to do it and that’s not the case,” Wong said. “You have to play it as a team and you go down as a team, that’s where the hockey plays come back. You have to be smart enough and disciplined enough to make good hockey plays. When you do that you’ll use your line mates and your teammates properly and the results will be better.”

Cooper Hilworth led the way offensively for Medicine Hat with a goal and three points while Levi Schlosser, Kyle Woolridge and Colby Friedrich all had a goal and an assist. Connor Douglas also got on the scoresheet with a goal.

Wong says he could see the passion in his older players’ eyes and expects a stronger showing not only from his veterans but the entire team. He also said their younger players need to put aside the playoff nerves.

“You don’t want to make that mistake to be the difference maker in the negative way and so by doing that you’re not really initiating things properly to push forward,” Wong said. “You look at our shots, they were 25-23, so you’re not giving up a lot of shots and everybody’s playing a little bit with caution.

“Both teams will say they need better goaltending, you need those timely saves to keep you going again, and that’s all we can hope for is that our guy is going to respond better for us next game and give us that opportunity.”

Both teams switched their goalies in the contest, with Mark Peddle taking over the Cubs’ net halfway through the second period from starter Kellen Bojic.

The Cubs’ focus switches to Game 2 on Friday back at the Kinplex, as they look to even the series up before they hit the road for games 3 and 4 in Cochrane.

Wong says they have a lot of video to watch before they decide who will be in net or in the lineup, and says they have to capitalize on home ice.

“We have a second chance at home and that’s what you get for winning and doing as well as we did in the regular season, but that’s all that means, it means nothing else,” Wong said. “We set ourselves up to have a couple home games so you got a chance to level it out. Then we make it a long series and go from there.”

Game 2 gets started Friday at 8:15 p.m.

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