Stampeders lost their away game against Three Hills 9-3 on Saturday Nov. 2 with the coaching staff still looking for ways of bringing some consistency to the game of the struggling team and keeping the players motivated so that the hunger for the first win can be brought to an end.
Ponoka’s goals in Saturday’s game came from Tye Munro on an assist from Jarritt Alexander and Cole Pritchard; Brad Zimmerman with the assist coming from Tyson Crampain and from Teagan Colonna on a pass from Trystin Rebman.
The game was not very different in essence from the previous performances of the Stampeders with defensive weaknesses leaving holes for the opposition to strike and offensive effort lacking the vigor to make an impact on the result.
Stampeders took 27 shots at the opponents’ goal while they received 55 shots from Three Hills’ offense.
Head coach Mark Dobler described the results as a “a step backwards.”
“I think we are getting better there for a few weeks, but sometimes we receive injuries, and sometimes we are not doing what we are talking about, we are not sticking to the game plan,” he said.
“Honestly, we are not getting the goaltending we need and our defensive play is not very good.”
The coach said the ultimate solution would be to beef up the defense with new players but for the time being he would work with the current roster.
“We just need to play better defensively as a group. “We are making mistakes in our defensive game that are costing us hockey games.”
“Every once in a while you need a big save to win a game, but we don’t get these big saves,” Dobler added in reference to the need for better goaltending.
Assistant coach Dave Parent agreed that the defense was the bigger issue to be dealt with.
“We have mental breakdowns back there (in defense), we cannot get the puck out of our own end and we make silly passes; it really hurts us,” said Parent.
“We are struggling to find consistency, it is a matter of having leaders, captains and assistants, to find a way for keeping these guys going.
“The problem we face right now is that we go the opponent’s end we get our chances but we cannot score, and then they come and score and take all the wind off our sails.”
Dobler still hoped, however, that with some new players joining in, Stampeders could look a lot better next year.
“We have a good group of guys who will be around next year and there is quite a few affiliate players who can play defense on our team next year. That will make a big difference.”
“As I have said earlier in the season, it is a work in progress, a lot of things have got better, but a lot of other things need to get better,“ he concluded.