It was a tough way to finish what was a promising season for the Cochrane Generals.
Last night, the Medicine Hat Cubs shut out the Gens 9-0 in what had otherwise been a close series. Two of the five previous games were decided in overtime and the others were decided by one or two goals.
The win advances the Cubs to the HJHL south final against the Okotoks Bisons, the top team in the league, which kicks off Mar. 8 in Okotoks.
Three goals in two and a half minutes gave the Cubs an early 3-0 lead and deflated the Gens' early spark. The Cubs went on to score three more in the second and third.
Though it was a stinging loss, Gens head Kurtis Jones remains proud of what the team accomplished this season.
"All our goals weren't met, but we battled through, and you can't be disappointed," says Jones. "The guys played very good five games out of the six and they kept pushing and dealing with a lot of injuries in the room, sickness, and life.
"It's hard to lose like that, but when you look at the big picture, it's not always about winning. It's the team morale and everything, and we had a pretty good team."
Cubs head coach Randy Wong says it has been a close series up until last night.
"It was totally unexpected," says Wong. "I don't think either team thought this was going to happen, but it's playoff hockey and anything can happen. Certainly from our end, we're taking it, right, we wanted to finish it in game six."
He says the makeup of the Cubs and Gens is similar, as are their game plans, and it comes down to bounces.
"You make mistakes and the other team makes you pay, and that's the way it is. Today, I think we were ready to play."
Cubs rookie Kyle Woolridge wasn't in on any of the scoring last night, but before that tapped in nine-goal in five games and added four assists. The 18-year-old had 32 points in 35 regular season games and finished 35th in the league.
Woolridge says you find another gear for playoffs.
"I wasn't the most physical guy but when you come into playoffs it's a lot different. You've got to go work hard, work in the corners, and good things will happen."
"We're having lots of fun and it's a good feeling. We're not too nervous, the leaders have been stepping up, they've been here before, and they make it a lot easier for the rookies."
He's expecting the Bisons, who have only lost two games this year, will come even harder than the Gens.
"If we play our game, bear down, I think we'll have a good chance."
It was a four-goal, five-point night for Cub Cooper Hilworth, the top scorer in the HJHL in the regular season. Caleb Garrecht notched a pair and singles went to Jacob Milne, Connor Douglas, Callen Prosofsky, and Dylan Trembecki.
The Gens finished third in the regular season with 23 wins, 12 losses, and three OT losses. They beat the High River Flyers in the first round of playoffs to advance to the south semis.