Last week was not kind to the Ponoka Stampeders.
The hometown club in both games at home to put them on a four-game losing streak and struggling to make up ground on the rest of the north division. The Stamps fell 9-4 to the Airdrie Thunder on Nov. 30 and then 3-2 in overtime to the Red Deer Vipers on Dec. 4.
Versus Airdrie, the first period looked more like a game of shinny with little to no defence on either side.
Toran Corbier got Ponoka on the board just 21 seconds in, followed 47 second later with a goal on a great move by Nate Higgins.
However, that quick start managed to wake up Airdrie, who scored four times in the next four minutes and 30 seconds to chase Ponoka’s Robert Michetti from the net after stopping just five shots.
Carter Gendreau would come in, but wasn’t able to stop the bleeding as Airdrie would notch three more late in the frame to take a 7-2 lead to the intermission. He would end up turning aside 38 shots on the night, as the Stamps were outshot 52-28.
The teams would trade goals in the second and third, with Higgins scoring both for the Stamps — including an unassisted shorthanded effort in the second — to earn the hat trick.
Ponoka’s start wasn’t as quick when they hosted Red Deer, though they did score first on a marker by Roenick Minde just over four and a half minutes into the opening 20 minutes. The lead evaporated under a minute later on a Red Deer powerplay, but Higgins would grab the lead back with his 24th goal of the season with under four minutes left in the period.
The Vipers tied it midway through the second as both clubs buckled down and played fairly evenly the rest of the way.
A scoreless third meant overtime, where Red Deer carried the play and ended the Stamps victory hopes at the 2:56 mark.
The Stampeders were once again outshot, this time 45-27 by Red Deer.
One positive thing to come out of the game came during one of the intermissions, when the junior B hockey club held a fundraiser with the crowd encouraged to toss toques, scarves, mittens and socks onto the ice to support those in need this winter season.
Hoof prints: The club has just 71 goals this season, with Higgins having more than one-third of that total with 24, which puts him fourth in the league among goals scored while the team is fourth from the bottom in goals scored. The Stampeders will look to break out of that bunch as they host Stettler, who are eight points ahead, tonight with puck drop set for 7:45 p.m. and then are on the road in Three Hills on Saturday.