The Wheatland Kings won a thrilling game three matchup against the Coaldale Copperheads to advance to the second round of the playoffs!

Up 3-2 with 24 seconds remaining, Coaldale scored a game tying goal with their goalie pulled to give themselves a chance to pull off the upset.

However, the Kings rallied and got the job done for the home crowd, as they scored the overtime game winner to move to the next round of the playoffs.

This series was all about battling adversity and staying together as a team, which Kings GM Lee Smith said is a good indicator of the culture and character the team is building.

"It just shows that our 'stick to it-ness' was there and they preserved."

With Coaldale in the rearview mirror, the Kings now face a very different type of challenge in the Okotoks Carstar Bisons.

Smith said they're arguably the best Junior B team in the country, and definitely in the province, so taking them down is no small feat. In fact, they only have three losses all season, but one of them came to the Kings, which Smith said is a great foundation for the team to build some confidence against this juggernaut.

"It definitely shows that we can do it, right? That's the biggest thing right there ,we proved that we can beat them. If you go back to the fourth game we played them they only beat us 2-1, and we were in that game too, we had plenty of opportunities to win that too. We just got to believe in ourselves, get good goaltending, and go from there."

"We're gonna push Okotoks as hard as we can and hopefully we can come out with the victory."

Despite their record and talent, Smith said it won't take anything fancy to beat the Bisons. Rather than try to scheme up new tricks and a different gameplan, he said the most important thing is to stick to what got the Kings here in the first place.

"It's going to be exactly the same thing as we've said all along. We've got to stay out of the penalty box and capitalize on our opportunities, because we don't get very many of them against them. You don't want their power play to nominate a series either."

"Okotoks likes to spread you out and stretch the passes, whereas Coaldale just tries to pound it down your throat. The biggest thing is we just have to play within ourselves, stay within ourselves, stay within the system."

Regardless of how the Okotoks series goes, Smith added he's proud of the team's effort up to this point, and says the future is bright. A series win against Okotoks would make that future blindingly bright, but even without that Smith is happy with how the team battled against Coaldale and earned the series win.

"Last year we went to round two, and this year we wanted to do the same. We've got big expectations for this team in the next couple of years, and this is a good start."

The playoffs now shift to a best of seven format, with the first two games being on Wednesday and Friday in Okotoks. The Kings' home ice schedule isn't set up yet, but Smith said game three on home ice should be on Saturday, at an unspecified time.

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