Stampeders veteran Ryan Harder, one of 10 players returning from last season, goes hard on the forecheck in the Okotoks end during play early in the third of the club’s home and season opener Sept. 15. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka Stampeders find season opener a learning experience

Stamps blanked 10-0 by Okotoks, young players somewhat shocked by level of play

A club filled with youths found out the hard way that junior hockey isn’t an easy leap to make.

The Ponoka Stampeders junior B squad took one on the chin in their season and home opener Sept. 15, blanked 10-0 by the Okotoks Bisons at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Centre.

For the Stamps, this season is somewhat of a transition with half the team consisting of new players — many of whom are experiencing the junior level of play for the first time. It also didn’t help that the hometown squad played with a short bench, limited to just three lines.

And despite the lopsided result, Stamps second year head coach Matt Williams saw several bright spots among the debris left behind by Okotoks.

“There are some pretty wide eyes on our team right now. We just weren’t ready and we have to go through those growing pains. We have guys used to playing at a certain level and this is about 10 times above what they’re used to,” he said.

“It is an adjustment period and as a coach, am I disappointed with the result. I’d be lying if I wasn’t. But, I saw some spurts here and there, where we showed we can compete and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

Williams added, that with how new much of the team is, and how little practice the team has had, it wasn’t too surprising that there were some hiccups when it came to systems play.

“Give us a couple of weeks and people will see a different team out on the ice,” he noted.

“Overall, we are happy with this group. We have a lot to work through, and yes, we probably need a couple more pieces. But, you have to give the young guys credit.”

And the roster may yet change some more, with Williams explaining there are a few players they are looking at potentially adding — some at junior A camps and some that are dealing with some injuries.

“We didn’t see our whole team out there, that’s what’s disappointing,” he said.

“What we potentially have, I think we are going to be that team that come later on, no one is going to want to play us.”

Out-gunned

First year goaltenders Derian Gaumond, 18 from Rocky Mountain House, and 19 year-old Brandon Clark from Hudson Hope, B.C., both saw action. Clark, who played eight games with the junior B Sicamous Eagles last season, turned aside 27 of the 34 shots he faced over 41 minutes of play, while Gaumond — who played midget A at home last season — had 19 minutes of action, allowing three goals on 15 shots.

The rest of the Stamps combined for just six minutes in minor penalties, although the bench got even shorter late in the second period when Shae Reynolds was hit with two 10-minute misconducts and a game misconduct in an incident where a Bison player was tossed for a check to the head on a Stampeder player.

Another statistic that didn’t go their way, the Stamps went zero for five on the powerplay that included the five minute major man advantage for the check to the head.

Buckle up: Another big test for the young Stampeders comes this weekend (Sept. 22) when they play host to the powerhouse Medicine Hat Cubs. Puck drop at the Ponoka Cultural and Recreation Complex is set for 8:30 p.m. Ponoka will then get another week of rest and practice before they hit the ice Oct. 5 in Didsbury to face Mountainview.

 

Ponoka’s Brandon Clark gets the knob of his goal stick on this Okotoks Bison shot late in the third of a 10-0 shutout of the home side Sept. 15. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Just Posted

Reflections: The early construction of then Ponoka mental hospital

Looking at the early development of then provincial mental hospital in Ponoka

Wolf Creek Schools superintendent receives contract extension

Jayson Lovell will continue to serve as superintendent through 2024

Ponoka fire crews deal with trailer fire on the QEII

There wasn’t much left of a 53 foot trailer after it went up in flames near Ponoka

Suspects from Ponoka charged in pawn shop theft

Ponoka RCMP say the two face several charges from Stampede Pawn incident

Ponoka provides update on recent water main breaks

Some roads continue to be closed to traffic as repairs to be completed

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Notley’s government puts priority on health care in throne speech

Lt.-Gov. Lois Mitchell kicked off the legislature session

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Ponoka RCMP on lookout for stolen pickup

The black 2011 Ford F350 King Ranch pickup was stolen from a rural residence

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires in wake of SNC-Lavalin case

Jody Wilson-Raybould accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for the firm

Most Read