An opening period burst was not how the Ponoka Stampeders wanted to open their playoff run and now the club needs a quick turnaround to keep their playoffs alive.
The Stamps were in Blackfalds to face the Wranglers Feb. 14 and were beaten 8-1 in the first game of the best-of-three opening round in the Heritage Junior B Hockey League playoffs.
Game two in the series goes Friday night (Feb. 16) with the drop of puck set for 8:45 p.m. and the Stamps are hoping that a big crowd will provide further incentive to send the series back to Blackfalds for a deciding game on Sunday (3:30 p.m. scheduled start time).
In the opener, the Wranglers scored four times — including a shorthanded and a powerplay goal — in a span of five minutes just past the midway mark of the first frame that put the Stamps behind a huge eight-ball and unable to rebound.
Blackfalds would go up by five early in the second before Ponoka’s Brandon Brockerville would notch the Stamps only goal of the night just over six minutes into the period. The home side would get three more — including two with the man advantage — in the third to put the game away.
While the shots on goal were even at 32 each, the big difference came on special teams with Ponoka unable to score on its five powerplay chances including a 5-on-3 opportunity for almost a minute to start the second period.
Keenan Starkell got the start for the Stamps, but was pulled after playing 15:44 with three of the eight shots sent his way finding the inside of the net. Taylor McLaughlin went the rest of the way, stopping 19 shots.