Being down two goals in the first five minutes of a hockey game can take the steam out of any team.
This was the scene of the Ponoka junior B Stampeders home opener Sept. 21 against the Mountainview Colts. Goalie Aaron Swier was taken out of the game shortly after and he was not happy about it.
Coach Mark Dobler is not sure what happened to his players during the game; they lost to the Colts 9-1 and he knows everyone in the Stampeders’ organization will have to step up if they have a chance of winning.
“We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, which is fine,” said Dobler.
Players have been working diligently during practices and there has been some turnover before the regular season but everyone was excited for this first game. He saw some improvement in players’ performance later in the game but being down 4-0 at the end of the first period makes coming back difficult.
Dobler saw some players working hard and others finding their steam later on. He wants every player to do their best to bring the team to victory. “We expected a better outcome.”
“We need to understand what happened but also we need to forget about it,” Dobler added.
Each coach brings something to the organization, says Dobler and he looks forward to how they can help the team perform better. Assistant coach Danny Pannenbecker has a strong understanding of players in the league. “Danny knows so many of these players from the time when they were young.”
Dave Parent is the other assistant coach and was head coach for a period last year. Parent also understands changes to the organization. “Dave knows all the rules and how the league runs.”
Dobler feels Deanna French is an important aspect of the organization. “She keeps everything in control from jerseys to first aid stuff…She’s totally on the ball.”
The team relies heavily on French’s ability to keep everything in the right place, he added.
There are 36 games in the junior B regular season but Dobler intends to forget their first game. He expects his players to improve with each passing game. “For us for sure it’s 100 per cent in progress.”
“We’re going to get better,” he added.
Dobler thanked fans for their support in the home opener and wants them to know this is not how he sees the team performing for the rest of the season. “Hopefully we can continue to have the great fan support on day 1.”
The next home game is Sept. 28 at 8 p.m. against Airdrie Thunder.