It’s been a long month for the Ponoka Stampeders, who have just one win since returning to the ice following the holiday break.
That victory came Jan. 4 in High River. Unfortunately since then, it’s been a string of seven losses punctuated this last week by a pair of losses to Stettler in a home and home set to go alongside one to Cochrane.
The rough week was kicked off by a 9-0 shutout in Stettler Jan. 15, followed by a 7-3 take down by the Lightning back in Ponoka the next evening.
Ponoka used both goalies — Brandon Clark and Keenan Starkell — in opening contest facing a combined 51 shots on goal while the Stamps mustered 27 shots.
It seemed like a different story the next night for the Stamps, getting goals from Wade Lightburn and Reid Jacobs and making it a game.
That was, until close to the 13 minute mark of the middle stanza when the locals appeared to lose their get up and go.
Stettler would score three times before the horn sounded to end the frame, then tacked on a shorthanded effort very early in the third that seemed to seal it.
Devin Anderson would grab Ponoka its own shorthanded goal about midway through the third, but Stettler put it to bed less than three minutes later with a powerplay marker.
In the Stamps weekend games, the club was doubled up 4-2 by Mountainview on the road in Didsbury Jan. 19 and then weren’t able to muster up enough of a comeback at home Jan. 20 in a 5-3 loss to Cochrane.
The Stamps Seth Eckert scored in the first, only to see Mountainview notch three goals in the first three and half minutes of the second and steal much of the momentum. Ryan Harder did get one back late in the frame, but Ponoka was badly out-shot 17-8 in the third and weren’t given a shot to get back into the contest.
Meanwhile versus Cochrane, Kieran Bulloch and Braden Kiessens scored in the second for the Stamps to take a 2-2 game into the third. However, only Harder managed to pot a goal in the final 20 minutes in the loss that saw them out-shot 43-36.
Fire up the wagon — With all that though, the Stamps are just three points back of Highway 2A rivals Blackfalds for fifth in the north division, meaning the club’s next two games are crucial to crawling up the standings with just four games left in the regular season. Ponoka hits Three Hills Jan. 26 then host the Wranglers on Jan. 30 (puck drop, 7:45 p.m.), leaving just one road game — in Three Hills Feb. 2 — and a home date versus Coaldale Feb. 9 to close things out.