The latter part of October has seen the Ponoka Stampeders experience some growth and a bit more pain.
Following up a week off, the Stamps played tough at home Oct. 24 against a more veteran Blackfalds squad, ultimately falling 3-2 in a shootout. Ponoka then faced a much harder test Oct. 26 in Airdrie against the still undefeated North division leading Thunder, losing 12-4.
On home ice, the Stamps and Wranglers were even most of the night — both on the scoreboard and at the level of play. Blackfalds opened the scoring late in the first, but Ponoka’s leading scorer Kieran Bulloch notched a powerplay marker with just under five minutes gone in the middle frame followed by a goal from Chevazz Rabbit a little more than a minute later to grab the lead.
That would stand up until Blackfalds, with the extra attacker, fired a quick shot off the faceoff in the Stamps end that found the twine with just 21 seconds remaining to send the game to extra time and eventually the shootout, where Blackfalds would win the extra point.
Versus Airdrie, which has put up several lopsided victories this season including a 29-1 debacle over Three Hills, Braden Kiessens and Rabbit each scored a pair for Ponoka.
For the Stamps’ bench boss Matt Williams, the season is looking brighter with just a young roster especially after putting a pair of recent victories.
“We’ve definitely played very well. We have a team that is here to compete, guys that care, guys that want to win and it shows,” he stated.
Despite that blip against Blackfalds, Williams feels his club played to their game plan and took it to the opposition.
“When we forecheck, send our young guy after them who are tenacious. We want to be a hard-nosed group that goes and gets the puck,” he noted.
“I am a happy man. We are showing we can compete with some of the better teams, showing signs of brilliance and we are showing signs that we need to work on some things. That’s what you expect from a young hockey club. I also give our leaders all the credit, they are doing a fantastic job with our young guys.
Buck shots – The Stamps hope to be tricking instead of treating tonight (Oct. 31) as they host the Red Deer Viper at 7:45 p.m. at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. Ponoka remains fifth in the North division, a pair of points back of Blackfalds and tied with Stettler. Meanwhile, the Stampeders would like to thank everyone who came out and supported their annual fundraising event Oct. 20.