Cochrane Generals head coach Kurtis Jones believes the Red Deer Vipers will be seeking a little redemption from last season on Friday night.
The Gens are on the road for their first meeting of the season against the team they beat to win the HJHL North Championship last season.
"I know that they're going to come pretty hard against us due to last season. They're going to be seeking a little revenge, but I'm pretty sure we'll be prepared for that. They also claim they're going to win the north, so they'll be a good group."
In preparing for the game, Jones told the players to expect all of their opponents to bring their best game.
"As we said in the dressing room the other night, every team wants to beat us, and every team is going to bring their 'A' game against us, so we'd better be prepared."
The Gens are 3-3, splitting games in the first three weekends of play.
He believes the team got a bit of jolt from their 8-2 loss to the Mountainview Colts last Saturday.
"Losing that game to Mountainview was an eye-opening for our guys. It's still early in the season, but in each game we play against north teams we have to come out on top. We have to make sure we're playing our game and be prepared to play these teams hard every time."
The Gens turned it around the next day, beating the Medicine Hat Cubs, 7-5.
Saturday, they head to Strathmore for a rematch against the Wheatland Kings. The Gens beat them 11-4 in the King's home opener, but Jones doesn't want the team to go into the game overconfident.
"They're a good team. We just happened to play our games and there were a lot of penalties in that game, so we capitalized on a couple of powerplays."
The Gens next home game isn't until next Saturday, Oct. 15 against the Kings.
One team they won't be playing this season is the north division's Ponoka Stampeders. The team has once again decided to push pause and hasn't played a full season since the pandemic hit.
Stampeders and HJHL officials say they share the mutual goal of having the team return for the 2023-24 season.