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Cochrane Generals 2-2 in HJHL after weekend split with High River, Coaldae

The Generals will be back on home ice for two games this weekend – against the Mountainview Colts on Saturday and the Medicine Hat Cubs on Sunday.
The Cochrane Generals are sporting a .500 record, four games into the 2022-23 season. Photo by Nick MacLure.

The Cochrane Generals are on an even keel, two weeks into the Heritage Junior Hockey League's (HJHL) 2022-23 season. 

After four games, the junior B team is sporting a 2-2-0 record in the HJHL's south division. The Gens are coming off their second consecutive weekend split, beating the High River Flyers 7-1 on Sept. 24 in Cochrane and then falling 6-2 on the road to the Coaldale Copperheads on Sept. 25.

The weekend prior, the squad lost to the Okotoks Carstar Bisons but beat the Strathmore Wheatland Kings in their opening two-game slate.

“We’re OK, we’re not satisfied to the point we’re happy with everything, but we obviously played well at home,” said Cochrane's head coach Kurtis Jones. “We didn’t play very well in Coaldale. [They] came out and out-competed and out-played us in all areas.

“But we’re [four games] into the season. There’s still a lot of teaching to do and I’m confident our guys are going to rebound from that, move forward, learn a little more, and once we’re more on the ice here and learning our systems…we’ll be a better group.”

The recent weekend got off to a great start for Cochrane, with a dominant win over High River on Saturday. After two games on the road the weekend prior, it marked the Generals' first home game of the 2022-23 season. 

Jones said a sizeable crowd of more than 300 fans showed up to the Cochrane Arena to support the Generals against the Flyers, and the players fed off the enthusiasm to generate a convincing victory. 

“We had about 330 people come out and watch our game,” Jones said. “We always want more, but we really appreciate the community’s support. Hopefully we can get our guys going and get guys riled up for a game at home.”

Travelling to one of the toughest arenas to play in the HJHL the following day, Cochrane was unable to replicate the result against the Coaldale Copperheads, who skated to a 6-2 victory at the arena colloquially known as 'The Snake Pit.'

“The guys played well enough, we just didn’t capitalize on what we needed to capitalize on,” Jones said. “Coaldale did, and they out-competed us in all areas. They’re a good team. We need to be prepared to sharpen our pencils here and get back to work.”

Even though it's still early into the season, it appears fourth-year Generals forward Patrick Forde – who led in scoring for the Generals last season with 52 goals and 83 points – will be another catalyst for the Cochrane team's offence this campaign. Forde already leads the team with six goals and nine points, putting him fourth in the HJHL scoring charts.

“He’s a big part of our group,” said Jones of the 21-year-old left wing, who was named the Generals' MVP last season. “He’s a great leader and does what he has to do on the ice. He’s always there to compete.

“We’re hoping we can get three other guys up to his level. We do have other guys who can keep up with Patrick Forde and put up the points. But he’s a key element of our team, obviously.”

Other points-generators for Cochrane thus far include Connor Stephenson with three goals and six points, and Riley Hopper with two goals and five points.

The Generals will be back on home ice for two games this weekend – against the Mountainview Colts on Saturday, Oct. 1 and the Medicine Hat Cubs on Sunday, Oct. 2. The games get underway at 7:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively, at the Cochrane Arena.