April 24th, 2024

Cubs wrap regular season with first round playoff bye

By JAMES TUBB on February 20, 2024.

jtubb@medicinehatnews.com@ReporterTubb

It may have taken until the final weekend of the season, but the Medicine Hat Cubs achieved their regular season goal.

The Cubs earned themselves a bye from the first round of the HJHL playoffs with a combination of their three-point weekend and other teams’ losses. They picked up a point Friday with a 3-2 overtime loss to the High River Flyers and ended the regular slate with a 3-2 win Saturday over the Cochrane Generals.

Head coach Randy Wong says they would have liked to have a bye wrapped up sooner but he is happy they secured their goal.

“Over the last two to three weeks we could have locked it up at some point in time but it’s neither here nor there, we accomplished what we did in the end, so good on the guys for that,” Wong said. “It’s really important for us to be able to have home ice in that second round. We weren’t sure who were going to play we thought it could be Coaldale and that’s who it ends up being. So that’ll be a good series and it’s always nice to get an extra game at home if you need to.”

The Cubs will face the Coaldale Copperheads in their second-round, best-of-five series which will start Saturday at the Kinplex. Game 2 of the series is Sunday at Coaldale and Game 3 slated for Feb. 28 at the Kinplex.

In Friday’s OT loss to the Flyers, Kyle Woolridge and Brady Mahar each had a goal and Hayden King had two helpers. Dominik Jagielski made 39 saves.

On Saturday, in the 3-2 win over Cochrane, captain Callen Prosofsky, Josh Drefs and Woolridge each scored and Tyler Wakelam made 26 saves.

Wong says they played well through both games and he is happy they came out of the weekend unscathed when it comes to suspensions or injuries.

“Our last game of the year was our strongest of the weekend in Cochrane, so that was good and both goalies got a chance to play on the weekend and they both look like they’re in playoff form,” Wong said. “Those are good indicators we’re going to have a good start to our playoffs. But to get into that last couple of games, you worry about suspensions and guys getting hurt, so sometimes it’s just a matter of survival in some of those games.

“We were able to kind of accomplish everything, we didn’t get too banged up, we didn’t have any suspensions. So going into the playoffs we will be healthy and have a pretty good lineup to put into Game 1.”

The Cubs won the season series against Coaldale 3-1, with the Copperheads winning the fourth matchup. Wong says they’re looking at two teams who play similar and he is expecting a good series to kick off their playoffs.

“We both score lots of goals and the goaltending is good on both sides,” Wong said. “Each team has a good mixture of young guys and older guys and they’ve turned the corner. They’ve come a long way in the last couple years and built a team that’s very similar to ours. So we’re looking for a good series.”

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