The two losses for the Junior B Ponoka Stampeders last week mirrored each other with scores of 6-1 for the visitors in both home games.
Captain Cody Lemon said, being injured with rotator cuff problems, he had a unique vantage point observing both games. He says the toughest part for both games was watching the team struggle and being unable to do anything to help.
“It kills you not to be on the ice…You want to be battling for the guys,” said Lemon.
The first game against the Red Deer Vipers Wednesday, Nov. 12 brought a different set of challenges; the Stampeders were dominated at every turn during that game.
“We lost every race to the puck,” said Lemon.
Vipers scored two in the first period and when Nate Higgins scored unassisted the only goal of the game for the hosts early in the second period, the visitors responded with three back-to-back points. Vipers sealed the final score with one more goal in the third.
The Saturday, Nov. 15 game against Airdrie Techmation Thunder started slow for the Stampeders. Lemon feels the team had the potential to win but being down 3-0 at the end of the first period caused the main issues for Ponoka.
“It just seemed like we had so many different bursts of good hockey,” said Lemon.
Those bursts of energy were not enough to turn the tides of the game and secure a win. Lemon suggests if they want to win they need to start strong as soon as possible.
“You’ve gotta start right from when the puck drops,” he said.
Brendan Scott, with assistance from Kyren Karol and Tyson Crampain, scored their only goal in the Saturday game by capitalizing on a power play. Four of the Thunder’s goals were made during power plays. Thunder scored two of their six in the second and the last one in the third.
He had the opportunity to see where players were unable to capitalize on plays but Lemon did not want to take away from their efforts. Looking in from the outside, Lemon says he saw areas needing improvement but while he may have words of advice, he knows playing against a strong team is difficult.
“It’s so much different to put those words into action,” Lemon explained.
The Stampeders have a road trip this weekend with away games in Medicine Hat and then Okotoks. Lemon hopes the team can re-focus and he feels this will be an ideal time to bond as a team.
Lemon says he has an MRI scheduled soon and hopes to hear some good news from doctors.