Ponoka Stampeders had an interesting weekend of two games, both on the road, first in Three Hills on Friday, Nov.20 and later in Stettler on Saturday, Nov.21, both lost in overtime and both with a score 5-4.
In Three Hills, Ponoka boys were the first the get on the scoreboard in the second minute of the game with Jaizen Threefingers but could not hold onto their lead when the hosts scored three in a row to finish the first period 3-1 ahead.
But Stampeders were not to be tamed. Although Thrashers increased their lead to three goals midway through the second period, Nate Higgings scored twice in the second half of the second period to keep the Ponoka boys in the game. In the third, Brendan Scott put the last number of the regulation on the scoreboard for Stampeders to send the game to overtime.
It was the hosts who managed to create scoring opportunity in overtime and sent Stampeders home with a single point.
As for the game in Stettler the following night, Stampeders head coach Tyler Fiveland said “It was our game but we found a way to lose it.”
Stampeders led all the way until the end of the second period but were eclipsed by he Lightning offense and lost the game again in overtime. In the first period, the sole score came from Austin Ancion for the Ponoka side. Early in the second, Mik Doell made it 2-0 for Stampeders, Lightning responded and so did Ponoka with Cody Lemon. The hosts scored again and Stampeders responded once more with Brendan Scott and the score was 4-2 for the Ponoka boys at the end of the second.
But it was all Lightning in the third period and when they scored twice in just 12 seconds, Ponoka could not reel from the shock and as the game went to overtime, the hosts managed to take the lead to end the game.
Coach Fiveland was happy with the effort on Friday night in that his players did not give up on the game and staged a comeback when they were 3-1 down to send the game to overtime. He attributed the loss to a “mental breakdown” among his players, which led them to stray from the game plan to focus on offence too much neglecting defence. As for Saturday night’s game in Stettler, he plainly said “We screwed up.” He said the boys didn’t communicate well and made some simple mistakes, which were capitalized on by the hosts.
As for his goal of being a playoff team this season, Fiveland said it was still possible to reach that objective and for that they would need to win a minimum of four more regular season games to go to playoffs.
Stampeders were scheduled to play against Blackfalds on the road on Tuesday, Nov. 24 before taking on Stettler Lightning at home on Wednesday, Nov. 25.