What coach Dave Parent said about Stampeders’ main hurdle to win games early in the season appears to remain very much the same as the teams approach halfway through the regular league schedule.
“We dig a hole for ourselves and we cannot get out of it,” was the description of the problem by Parent.
In back-to-back home games last week, Stampeders continued to make things difficult for themselves and lost more points, leaving the first ever win of the season as elusive as ever.
In last Wednesday’s game against Stettler Lightning, who sit at the top of the Junior Heritage Hockey league undefeated, the Stampeders held tight until the middle of the first period, but once the visitors scored their first goal, it was like the floodgates opened to the end: Lightning finished the period with a 4-0 lead.
In the second period, the Ponoka boys tried to stage a comeback and actually scored twice, through Ryan Strome and Braedan Grant, but the Lightning was not to be stopped.
They also scored three goals to widen their lead to 7-2 at the end of the second and finished with three more points in the third period to close the game at 10-2.
During Saturday’s game against Banff Academy Bears, the Stampeders were again holding tight in the first period. Although the visitors scored first, Tyson Crampain responded with an unassisted long shot to equalize the scoreboard and the first period ended with the balance holding.
Bears scored again in the 7th minute of the second period to lead 2-1, about six minutes later, Stampeders were offered but squandered a major chance: In the 13th minute, Bears were reduced to three men on the ice with two players sent to the penalty box, one of them for four minutes for excessive roughing and the Stampeders failed to strike despite maintaining their relentless attacks. Apparently having used all their powder in their arsenal, Stampeders failed to stop the Bears from scoring three more in the final period, sending the visitors home with a 5-1 victory.
Ponoka boys have a single road game this week. They will be playing against Stettler Lightning in the Stettler Rec Centre on Friday, Nov. 29 at 7.30 p.m.