The first game of the regular season for Ponoka’s Stampeders proved a challenge as players struggled to keep up with a faster Banff Academy Bears.
The Stampeders lost 7-2 in Banff after having to deal with over 100-penalty minutes, explained head coach Tyler Fiveland.
Players spent much of their game trying to wind down the clock and then attempting to get back in the game. From a points perspective, Fiveland said the team did well in the first period with goalie Zeke Leuck letting only one goal in.
At the end of the first period the Stampeders were down 1-0. The Bears were unable to score in the third period but it was in the second period that trouble started for Ponoka.
“They (the Bears) have a lot of speed, they’re quite disciplined,” explained Fiveland.
Banff scored right away in the second period during a power play bringing the score to 2-0, however, Ponoka was able to score about seven minutes later, also during a power play.
After several attempts to score back and forth the Bears managed to hold on to a narrow lead of 4-2 with seven minutes left. They were able to runaway with the game after scoring three goals within one minute shortly before the end of the second period.
“If not for the second period, it was a good game,” suggested Fiveland.
He said this was also a first chance for the Ponoka team to work with a complete roster as preseason games players were moving around to different teams in the league.
Fiveland said this first game showed the holes in the team’s strategy and he said they will be able to practice this Wednesday to work on plans. Ponoka’s home opener is Saturday, Sept. 26 against the Mountainview Colts, a team that has already played two games and won both of them.
Fiveland said a tailgate party is being held from 6 to 8 p.m. to get fans back at the rink as the season gets underway.
Fans who want to follow up on the Stampeders’ season can also download a smartphone app called Team App. Search Stamps App and fans can get updates on games and notifications on their schedule and more.