The Wheatland Kings are advancing to the second round of their playoff run, having defeated the Coaldale Copperheads 2-1 in their best of three series.
Sunday, Feb. 19 marked the third game of the set, as the Kings had answered their game 1 loss with a vengeance in game two. Game 3 ended in overtime with Cole Walker, assisted by Chase Berg and Jaycob Masciangelo, scoring the final goal, setting the score at 4-3.
Wheatland Kings Head Coach Doug Raycroft said the end of the game was not exactly what he had hoped to see, but he was happy that his team pulled through and kept themselves in the playoffs.
“I was really proud of the boys for fighting through all the adversity in the game and battling through all the problems we had in the game and coming up on top,” he said.
Raycroft described the game as being a bit of a mess— though was hesitant to do so, noting many calls that were made over the course of the game felt one-sided.
“I hate to blame the referees, but one way to put it was that it was a little one-sided. We battled through that pretty good and we got the lead, and we thought there was some interference on the last goal that they tied it up with in the last minute,” he added.
“They basically pushed our goalie out of the way when it was a scramble there, but it was just another of the things we had to overcome.”
The Kings opened up strong at the start of the game, claiming the first two goals of the night, followed by succeeding a goal to Coaldale to end the first period.
During the second period, Coaldale opened with a power play goal, with the Kings answering back to take the lead again with 1:38 remaining.
Coaldale’s third goal, which Raycroft described as questionable, occurred within the first minute of the third period, bringing the game back to a tie, and would be the only goal scored during the period for either side.
Now that the Kings are moving on to round two of the playoffs, they have been seeded to square off against the Okotoks Bisons.
“We are the underdogs, so we are not going to be nervous. They are a really good hockey team and we are just going to go into it with that underdog mentality and see if we can surprise people,” said Raycroft.
The series is a best of seven and kicked off in Okotoks, Feb. 22. The second game of the series will also be an away for the Kings, to be played Feb. 24.