With six straight wins, the Cochrane Generals are still jockeying for playoff position in the strong Southern Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League (HJHL) season with two games remaining. Cochrane is currently in third place in the division with 43 points, one back of the second place Coaldale Copperheads and five back of the first place Okotoks Bisons.
On Feb. 3, the 21-10-1 Generals took on the 17-15-3 High River Flyers in their second last home game of the season. Cochrane jumped out to a 3-1 lead on goals from Braden Bain scoring two of his three goals on the evening and Colton Wong also added a goal after High River opened the scoring less than four minutes into the contest. After the first period, Cochrane was able to blow the game wide open and hold onto the lead.
Harry Osler and Jordan Fisher scored for the home side to advance the Generals lead to 5-1 and then early in the third frame, Jarod Domingo and Bain put the icing on the cake for the 7-3 lead. The Flyers would score with a minute left to go in the game, but it was too little to late. The game finished with a 7-4 score in favour of the Generals.
It was a rare night where Talus Hume and Slater Ransom weren’t combining for double digits, as Hume was held to only one assist and Ransom was out due to injury. Harry Osler and Braden Bain led the way offensively for Cochrane, Osler finished the game with a goal and three assists and Bain scored three goals and added a helper … Bain and Osler are eighth and ninth on the team in points chart. Bain, the second-year sniper, has 14 goals and seven assists in 29 games, while Osler in his rookie season has eight goals and seven assists in 31 games.
Bain said it’s important for the team to have secondary scoring moving into the final games of the season as well as the HJHL playoffs.
“It’s huge to have depth rolling into playoffs and the last few games of the season. It takes the focus off of Talus (Hume) and Slater (Ransom) against other teams and gives them more opportunities as well,” Bain said.
“Personally, I think I’ve been a solid contributor to the team minus the two-month goalless drought, but glad I’m out of it and I feel like my game is improving every day.”
Knute Loe got his sixth consecutive win in as many games for the Gens, stopping 27 of the 31 shots he faced on the evening. In those six games, Loe has gone 6-0 while posting a 1.66 goals-against-average and two shutouts.
Bain also commented that Loe’s recent play has given the rest of the team a confidence boost moving forward into an important stretch of games.
“Knute has played great in the last while so as a team, we’re just riding the hot goalie,” Bain said.
“Whether we have Garbs (Erik Garber) or Knute (Loe) in net, we are confident in both of them to make the saves and help us get these important wins.”
The Generals were supposed to have two games this weekend, but the Feb. 4 game against the Medicine Hat Cubs was cancelled, resulting in a tie for both teams and no points. The cancellation was made due to weather making travel unsafe.
If the game against Medicine Hat is not made up in the future, Cochrane will hit the road for the two games remaining on their schedule against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings on Feb. 9 as well as another game against the Cubs the following day.
Bain was confident in his team’s ability to make some noise come playoff time.
“I think our team is capable of winning the league,” Bain said bluntly.
“But there are eight other teams in the league who feel the same way that we do, so we need to play solid hockey all throughout the playoffs in order to be successful.”