Kings take out Copperheads

The Wheatland Kings have survived the first round of their playoff run, defeating the Coaldale Copperheads in overtime of the decisive game of their best of three series.

Cole Walker converted a feed from Chase Berg and Jaycob Masciangelo to provide the overtime winner in a 4-3 win in Game 3.

Opening the game strong, the Kings claimed the first two goals of the game, followed by a goal made by Coaldale’s Rylan Bruns to close out the first period.

The Copperheads tied the game with a powerplay goal in the second, before going down 3-2 to the Kings with 1:38 left in the middle frame, with a goal made by Carter Gosling.

Drew Constant opened the third period with a goal less than a minute in, bringing the game to a tie, 3-3.

After falling 4-2 in Game 1 on Feb. 16, Kings head coach Doug Raycroft said his team needed to maintain better control of the puck and play a faster game in order to survive the playoffs.

“We played their kind of game … and we have to be ready to play our kind of game, and our kind of game is moving the puck fast and skating,” he said. “We bought into their game … we got sucked into some penalties and lost a couple of forwards. And, of course, we were already down. (Kobe) Gosling got suspended in the previous game, and we got a couple injuries so that makes it rough.”

Raycroft described the series akin to going into battle, and having to fight for every inch of ice, and in Game 1, it was tool late for the Kings by the time the boys got their engines warm.

In Game 2 of the series on Feb. 18, however, the Kings answered right back, putting themselves on the board with a 3-1 victory over the Copperheads, and allowing them the opportunity to take the series overall.

Going forward, Raycroft said his team will have to continue to bring their best if they are to continue moving forward through the playoffs.

“We are going to have to bring everything we have, and it’s going to be a battle. We just told the boys, get ready, take care of your body, take care of yourself, get some sleep because it is going to be a war,” he said.

The Kings will now take on the Okotoks Bisons in Round 2, which will begin Wednesday, Feb. 22 in Okotoks at the Murray and Piper Arena, starting at 8 p.m. Game 2 is slated for Feb. 24 (8 p.m.).

The Kings will host Game 3 on Feb. 25 (8 p.m.) at the Strathmore Family Centre.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times