The Cranbrook Bucks have a tough matchup ahead of them as they get set to face the Wenatchee Wild in the first round.
Even though the Bucks finished in second place and the Wild finished in seventh in the Interior Division, the Wild have given the Bucks grief all season.
Wenatchee has won five out of seven games this season, although most were hard-fought close games.
Bucks head coach and GM Ryan Donald says they’re very familiar with the Wild’s game.
“We’ve played them a lot down the stretch and understand what makes them tick. They’ve got two, or three top-end offensive players in this league with Somoza, Littler and Berger. They’re a team that’s got firepower and they play a tough brand that’s difficult to get on the inside of.”
He believes their spot in the standings doesn’t show how good the team is.
“A team that’s difficult to beat and ultimately they’re a team I felt like their record, maybe their place in the standings didn’t really indicate the team that they have.”
He says the team needs to focus on not giving up preventable chances and learn from last year’s playoffs.
“It’s a good experience for us last year to kind of go through that. We’ve drawn on it over the course of the winter on how important those small decisions become,” he added.
“Whether it’s a mismanaged puck in the neutral zone or a missed assignment in the defensive zone and all of a sudden it rattles around it’s in the back of your net and you’re down a game in the series.”
The first two games are at home, with Game 1 on Friday at 7 p.m.