It’s been a struggle this season for the Lacoka bantam female hockey squad, but they continue to battle.
A 5-2 loss in Ponoka to Camrose on Jan. 13 showcased not only how hard it’s been so far for the girls, but also demonstrated how far they have come, according to head coach Tim Falkiner.
Falkiner, who wasn’t behind the bench due to serving a five-game suspension, noted the team has a few girls that have never played organized hockey before to go along with a few very skilled players. That has left the club with a steady, and at times, steep learning curve while relying on a few players to carry the load.
Hailey Hoogkamp, who scored both goals for the host side in the loss, has been one of those players especially offensively. She leads the team with 21 goals and 26 points. However, her aggressiveness also means she leads the club with 28 penalty minutes.
The other two Lacoka squads were also in action over the weekend with varied results.
The midgets fell Jan. 14 by a count of 4-2 to Stettler in Lacombe, with goals by Rachel Wood and Zoe Lorenz-Boser, while the peewee team squeezed past Camrose in Ponoka 4-3 on Jan. 15 with Hailey Huchkowski notching a pair and Chole Wilton and Karlee Feragen netting the other goals.
The bantam squad, sitting with a 3-9 record, and the midgets are back in action on the weekend — the bantams host Leduc in Lacombe Jan. 21 while the midgets are in Leduc Saturday then host Edson Sunday in Lacombe.
It was a busy weekend for Ponoka Minor Hockey teams, which included the Fountain Tire Midget Wolves playing three games in three days. The Wolves lost all three games — 6-4 in Maskwacis, Jan. 12, then at home 4-3 to Battle River, Jan. 13, and 10-7, Jan. 14, in Ponoka to Vegreville.
Goals from Sam Neath, Quinton Adam, Josh Vold and Noah Spelrem weren’t enough against Maskwacis, while scoring from Lewis McDowell, Jayden Hagemann and Cyrus Thompson left Ponoka short versus Battle River. McDowell scored five times against Vegreville with Hagemann and Rylee de Jonge getting the others.
Meanwhile, the Bantam Moose managed a win and a draw in Stony Plain. Braeden Toporowski and Jake Simanton scored in the tie Jan. 14, while Eric Taylor and Ashton Bandet each scored twice with singles from Mathias Sandin and Colter Bresee in their win.
And, in peewee action, the Elks fell 7-5 in Drayton Valley Jan. 14 with a pair from Kael Street and singles by Luke Simanton, Evan Kraft and Treyton Johnson while Quality Paint and Collision fell twice to Leduc, 7-5 at home Jan. 14, then 5-3 in Leduc the next day. Jaiden Bandet had a hat trick Saturday with the others from Kevin Kammer and Dylan Jones, while Bandet, Kammer and Raiden Rabbit each scored Sunday.
The atom McDonalds squad, were dumped 11-2 in Warburg Jan. 13 then tied CNN 7-7 in Gibbons the next day. Daylan Owen and Kian McLean scored in the loss, with Trace Tonneson getting four, McLean a pair and one from Dacian Heinz in Gibbons.
Buckle up: Ponoka’s rink will be bustling again this weekend, with the Wolves hosting Fort McMurray for two games Friday at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Moose will take on Strathcona in Bashaw (8:45 p.m.) then host Edson Sunday (2:30 p.m.) with the Elks home to Hinton Saturday (2:15 p.m.) and Quality Paint and Collision up against Fort Saskatchewan Friday (6:15 p.m.). Atom McDonalds cap things off Sunday (10 a.m.) versus Camrose.