Another win in the books for the Ponoka Stampeders and the team is finding some momentum in the Junior B hockey season.
Ponoka played Stettler Lightning at home Nov. 15 with players proving that they could overcome scoring obstacles to ensure a win. At the final buzzer the score was 6-4 with the Stampeders securing the win by taking advantage of an open net.
For coach Matt Williams it was a positive experience for the team.
“This has been a team that historically has found a way to lose, tonight we found a way to win,” said Williams.
While not completely proud of the game — there were a few lost scoring opportunities and some missed defensive plays, which ended in Stettler scoring — he felt the third period was one to be proud of.
There were some defensive breakdowns for the Stampeders that said to Williams there are opportunities for improvement. “They did a great job of exploiting our D-court tonight,” said Williams adding that Lightning would fake pass one direction but send the puck in another.
Where Williams was pleased was seeing the team not give up during the game. In the third period the Stamps ended up scoring four goals.
He added praise for goalie Taylor McLaughlin, who had 30 shots on net saving 26.
The team ended up picking new Stampeder, Ryan Harder, as the game MVP. “It was good for him to get in and get involved.” said Williams.
At one point in the game, player Brandon Brockerville was docked with a two-minute penalty for goaltender interference. As he made his way around the Stettler net, Brockerville collided with the goalie who subsequently fell to the ice. This hit caused some uproar among Stettler players.
Williams felt it was more of an accidental collision than anything. “Guys are trying to hustle and make plays.”
“The goalie stepped out. I thought he ran into our guy, but goalies are supposed to be protected for a reason and I don’t disagree with the call made,” added Williams.
With the success of the Stettler game, Williams hoped for a win against Okotoks Nov. 19 but the Stamps fell short, losing 7-3.
Ponoka’s scorers for the Stettler game were Taite Opdendries (2), Nate Higgins, Ryan Harder, Jordan Sears and Brendan Scott.