First place in the south is on the line this weekend in the final weekend of regular season play in the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) and the Cochrane Generals are right in the mix.
Currently four points out of second, a perfect storm could see the Gens leapfrog over the Okotoks Bisons and Coaldale Copperheads into first.
Everything has to go the Gens way, though. The Ponoka Stampeders need to beat the Copperheads, the Airdrie Techmation Thunder need to overcome the Okotoks Bisons and the Gens would have to win their last three games in consecutive nights of action.
The best the Gens can do is tie the Copperheads but would get the nod because they won the regular season matchup 3 games to one.
"I have a sneaking suspicion we may not catch Coaldale, but it's completely possible we could have a bye in the first round, whether it's first place or second place. I think we've earned that."
Whether entering in the first or second round, McMillan believes the team needs to remain consistent and strong push to go deep into the playoffs.
McMillan expects all three games this weekend to be a battle.
"Two of those three games are against Med Hats and they're going to be dogfights. The other game against Strathmore is going to be a dog fight, too, but I completely expect us to pull out three wins. If we don't, we only have ourselves to blame."
3-2 Win Over Medicine Hat
All season, McMillan has been saying watch out for the Medicine Hat Cubs. Point and case was the Gens 3-2 win yesterday against the fourth-place Cubs.
The Gens were outshot 36-26 but held on to claim a vital two points.
"I've been preaching it all year that those guys are a changed program. When they came to our rink last night, I was fully aware we may have a battle on our hands and it turned out to be the case. Fortunately, we got a good response from our guys and we managed to win."
The Cubs took a 1-0 lead less than two minutes into the game on a powerplay goal before the Gens tied it up by the end of the stanza. The Gens scored one in the second and Brandon Aab planted the insurance goal earlier in the third that eventually became the game winner. The Cubs scored their second on the powerplay with under six minutes remaining. Rob Michette turned away 14 of the 15 shots in the third alone.
Leading scorer Braden Bain had a two-point night with a goal and assist and Caden Chudleigh scored the other Gens goal. Scott Shugg assisted on two and other helpers went to Zach Cugnet and Chris Sambrook.
On the Road to Recovery
Takuro Okada, Jaeden Dowling and Harry Olser remained out of the lineup for Sunday's game but McMillan suspects they will be returning soon.
"I'm not going to bring them back too early to have our depth ruined for playoffs. The more rest the guys get the better. We already have a playoff spot and I don't mind if they miss a couple extra games to make sure they are 100 per cent."
Come Cheer on Our Team
Mark Friday and Saturday night on the calendar to cheer on our hometown team at the Cochrane Arena.
The Gens take of the Strathmore Wheatland Kings Friday night (Feb. 8) with the puck dropping 8 p.m. On Saturday (Feb. 9), the Cubs are back in town for the Gens last home game of the regular season. Start time is 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, the Gens are on the road to finish the regular season in Medicine Hat.
There's tons of entertainment value for the price of a ticket. Just $10 for adults and $5 for 15 and younger, students with school ID and seniors 55 and up. It's free for those five and under.