The Cochrane Generals have become the first club to tame the Medicine Hat Cubs this season in a narrow 4-3 win on the road, Oct. 20.
Arriving home the next morning after 3 a.m. though, may have had an impact on their performance later that night.
Tied 1-1 after two, the Sylvan Lake Wranglers scored two unanswered goals in the third for a 3-1 win that has kept them on top of the HJHL north division.
"When you play those back-to-backs and you get home at 3 a.m. for some guys four, it's tough, but in the HJHL you've got to learn to play those," says Gens assistant coach Connor Stephenson. "When we came out to play today we just weren't there. Too many penalties, undisciplined, and the goalie (Isaias Maddigan) played great, but he had no one to back him up."
Against the Cubs, the Gens were led by a two-goal performance by Tristan Ripplinger, including the game-winner. He scored his first on an end-to-end rush to put the Gens ahead 3-2 in the seesaw battle.
Short-handed goals have become a specialty of Gen Diago Coelho. He notched yet another one to open the scoring. Evan Judge scored the Gens other goal.
Saturday night at the SLS Centre, Sylvan Lake hammered away at Gens with 22 shots in the first but only one got by Gens goalie Isaias Maddigan, a powerplay goal by Maddex Bignell. Two minutes later, the Gens got a powerplay goal of their own off the stick of Tristan Ripplinger, his 12th of the season.
Tyson Tisdale put the Wranglers ahead on a powerplay goal at 8:37 of the third that saw a rise in the energy level on the Gens bench.
"That's all about keeping the confidence on the bench because you're down a goal, so there's no point in getting down on yourself," says Stephenson.
No goal resulted, though, but there was lots of pressure and big saves by Wrangler goalie Kaden Toussaint.
"He's one of the leaders in our room and everyone gets behind him when he's kicking and giving us a chance to win every night," said Wranglers' goalie coach Andy Sinclair.
Wrangler Austin Corsiatto scored the insurance goal four minutes later.
It's a tight race in both divisions of the HJHL. The Wranglers are at the top in the north by a slim margin.
"It's close up at the top," says Sinclair. "There's a lot of teams fighting for those points, so we got two tonight to keep us where we need to be."
The Gens have a two-game home stand on the schedule this weekend that will likely be cancelled due to the state of emergency and the current closure of the SLS Centre.