The Wheatland Kings had a reason to celebrate as they get ready to wrap up the regular season before heading into the playoffs.
The team headed to Okotoks on Friday night to take on the Okotoks Carstar Bisons who had only lost two games all season and had beaten the Kings in each meeting they have had this season.
On Friday night the Kings got the win they have been striving for all season when they beat the Bisons 4-3 and Head Coach Doug Raycroft said it was a hard fought victory.
"It's really good for confidence builder and more so than just beating them, it was the way we played it was the kind of the way that we want to be able to play against teams like that."
Raycroft said the team stepped up and stayed out of the penalty box which is a game changer when you are playing a team like Okotoks.
It wasn't just a big night for the team but for one player in particular who came away with a hat trick on the night, Raycroft said it was great to see such a hardworking guy have such a great night.
"Josh (Alberda) played well he's been good for us all year, the first goal was a really great shot, and then the other ones he just worked his butt off in front of the net and got rebounds and buried them. He's a good player for us, and he's important for us because he works really hard and he sets the tone and it was good for him to be rewarded with some goals."
It came down to team effort and discipline both things that Raycroft says have been a focus of his since taking over the team mid-season, but there is more to it than just staying out of the box against a team like Okotoks, "Just skating fast is one thing, but to play fast you have to pass a lot and we've been working on that a lot. Sometimes you don't notice it, but it sure helped on Friday, and to beat the good teams you have to play fast, it's vital."
For Raycroft, he said it comes down to the team mentality and believing in themselves as much as he does, "We're looking really good going forward we're hoping to surprise some people here in playoffs, but next year you know a lot of these players are young, I think we're one of the youngest teams in the league so we got a lot of players that will be able to come back and we're just going to get stronger each year."
This team Raycroft said still has something to say heading into the end of the season and they will have the chance to do that this weekend when they have back-to-back games against the High River Flyers. The Kings will head to High River on Friday before heading back to Strathmore to play them on Saturday night at 8 pm.
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