MEDICINE HAT, AB – It’s a battle of David versus Goliath in round one of the HJHL playoffs.
The last-place Medicine Hat Travelodge Cubs look to pull off the upset against a tough Cochrane team. The Generals haven't lost to the Cubbies all season long, and haven’t lost in regulation since the turn into 2018. While the Hatters have just one win in eleven games going into the playoffs, young goaltender Josh Breznik’s strong play has inspired confidence in his teammates.
The 18-year old Coaldale native stopped 67 of 70 shots the last time the two teams played.
Noah Irvine, the team’s leading scorer, thinks having Breznik in net helps the team push for more offensive opportunities.
“When you know there’s a goalie behind you that’s going to make those crucial saves that give us a chance to win the game, we’re always going to play with a little bit more confidence." Irvine said, who's potted 26 goals and 43 points in his rookie campaign. "The D, if they have a chance to rush the puck, they’re probably going to rush it, knowing that if they turn the puck over, our goalie's going to save it.”
Assistant coach Brandon Stahl thinks Breznik’s strong late season play couldn’t have come at a better time.
“You always want to have a hot goalie for playoff hockey and he’s definitely playing hot right now to end the year," noted Stahl.
Stahl knows the kind of intensity the Generals bring to the game and says the Cubbies have to match that level of play if they’re going to pull off the upset.
“Well we know how they play, we’ve had them a couple of times this year, we just have to adjust to how their playing style is," he continued. "They play a very aggressive game and we have to match their intensity.”
The Travelodge Cubs travel to Cochrane for game one at 8:00 P.M. tomorrow night, then head back home for a 7:45 P.M. match-up at the Kinplex Arena Saturday night.
Game two will be an elimination game, with round one being a best-of-three series.
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