The Wheatland Kings started the new year off on the right foot with a 3-2 overtime win in High River on Friday, before continuing their road trip with a 5-4 loss to the Medicine Hat Cubs on Sunday.
Kings Head Coach Doug Raycroft was happy with the win but said the team was inconsistent as they came back from a three-week break.
"It was up and down. Those two games we didn't play 60 minutes in either game," he said.
While the Kings were able to hang on for the win against the High River Flyers, they dug themselves in a hole too deep early against the Cubs, so their strong effort the rest of the game, unfortunately, couldn't overcome poor play to start.
Raycroft added their early season penalty problems returned against the Cubs and given that the Cubs are one of the better teams in the league he said that killed their chances of winning that game.
A 1-1 weekend certainly isn't a horrible place to be though, and Raycroft said the team should improve as they get back into the swing of things after the break.
"You're not as sharp as you normally would be, so it takes a little bit to get back into the game, but no excuses though. I think we're just getting our legs back."
Overall, Raycroft was happy with how the weekend went, as the win is obviously nice, but even in the loss the team could learn some valuable lessons as they prepare for the playoffs.
"We took a lot of information from that game that we'll be able to use. And who knows, we might play them again, you never know when they end up facing them in the playoffs, right? It's always good information for your team."
As for what specifically they learned, Raycroft pointed to the importance of discipline and consistent effort, as well as how the Kings could scheme up ways to handle the Cubs' impressive speed and more aggressive style of play.
The Kings face a unique situation this week, as their next game is actually this Tuesday instead of the usual weekend, due to a scheduling conflict earlier in the season that caused it to be rescheduled.
Raycroft doesn't anticipate the quick turnaround to cause any problems and hopes to see a lot of fans there for the Kings' first home game of 2023. They'll face the Mountain View Colts on January 10 at 8:30 PM.
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