The Cochrane Generals have struggled to put back-to-back wins together this season, but that's not the case with the Airdrie Techmation Thunder.
The Gens roll into Airdrie Friday night to face a smoking-hot Thunder team that's on a six-game winning streak.
Airdrie shook off a slow start to their season and has climbed to first in the north division. Meanwhile, the Gens continue to hold second in the south behind the Okotoks Bisons. The Medicine Hat Cubs continue to be hot on their tail and are just two points behind with two games in hand.
Saturday, the Gens are on the road to Coaldale for a rematch with the Copperheads. Their season series is tied at 1-1.
"They're a good hockey team," Jones says of the Copperheads. "Their record doesn't state what kind of hockey team they are because they're quite good."
On Dec. 16, the Gens hosted the Strathmore Wheatland Kings then hit the road to Medicine Hat.
Well past the halfway point of the regular season, Gens head coach Kurtis Jones says the next four games before the Christmas break will tell the tale of the Gens.
"The next four games are going to judge where our team stands," says Jones.
The Generals are the most penalized team in the HJHL, and it's something the coaches are attempting to address.
"It's unnecessary penalties that kind of happen, and we either wake up or we're in trouble."
The Gens didn't skate during their Dec. 6 practice but instead had an extended team meeting to address the issue.
"It's an either shape up or go home kind-of attitude right now. because we can't afford to be in the box, and they know that."
"We're a good hockey team when we're disciplined and we stick to what we have to stick to. But when you get off that page and you give a team six, seven powerplays, that's momentum to their side."
He says there are no easy wins in the HJHL this season.
"We can't take teams lightly. Last weekend, our guys thought it was going to be an automatic four points, and it's not. We could have put ourselves in a position to have a good hold on second, but right now we don't."
Last Friday against the Three Hills Thrashers, the last-place team in the league, the Gens fell behind 4-1 halfway through the second before turning it around to win, 7-4.
On Saturday, the Strathmore Wheatland Kings evened the score 3-3 to force overtime. That solved nothing, and in a 12-round shootout, the Kings claimed it, 4-3.
While the Gens used a lot of their experienced snipers, Jones says he likes to give some of the younger players some shoot-out experience to help build their confidence. Rookies Logan Paquette and James Quaife both answered the call.
Missing from the shoot-out lineup was Tristan Ripplinger, who was injured in the third.
"Both goalies on either side played very well throughout the game. Our guys were struggling in some areas but all-in-all our guys put a good effort in, and Strathmore played a good game."
In other HJHL news, the Okotoks Bisons have lost their second game of the season and the first one on home ice on Dec. 3 against the Medicine Hat Cubs., 4-3, heating up the race in the south division.