Ponoka’s junior B Stampeders can chalk a win off the list after defeating the High River Flyers in their home opener.
It was in the second period of the Oct. 8 home-opener where the team really showed its strength. At the face off in the second the score was tied 1-1. That all changed after Nate Higgins capitalized on a penalty shot bringing the game 2-1.
Coach Tyler Fiveland was pleased with the game praising the team for moving the puck at the right times. “We started taking shots.”
“The biggest thing we’ve done wrong is we haven’t shot the puck enough,” said Fiveland.
The Flyers brought the pressure trying to create opportunities to score, however, an equally dedicated Stampeders’ defensive line refused to give in. The score remained 2-1 until about 14 minutes into the second period where Stampeders’ Chevazz Rabbit found a hole, shorthanded, sinking the puck for a 3-1 score.
Higgins captured his second goal of the game just over two-minutes later after capitalizing on a power play. He was assisted by Brendan Scott, which increased the lead now to 4-1. At this point the Stampeders found themselves in a groove gaining confidence with each passing second.
One of the key differences in this game from past ones, was the team grabbing the rebounds, said Fiveland. Their hard work showed in the game’s score.
“Now they know they can (win). That’s the main thing,” offered Fiveland.
To cap off the second period, James Lea, assisted by Austin Ancion and Walker Guthrie, scored bringing the game to a 5-1 lead, which left the Flyers scrambling for some semblance of control of the game.
During the break after the first period Fiveland pointed out to the players that they were the ones who tied the game 1-1. Usually it’s the other team that comes from behind to tie it.
“Finally we’re the team that did that…we broke their back for once,” he stated.
Fiveland added his praise of the defense for blocking shots and fighting to keep the puck out of the net.
With such a strong lead the Stampeders eased up on the pressure in the third giving the Flyers some wiggle room, however, Ponoka’s defense didn’t give in so easily. It wasn’t until almost 13 minutes into the third that the Flyers managed to find a hole and score, bringing it 5-2.
The Flyers’ goal was enough to wake Ponoka up and push for another goal. That work paid off at the 17 minute mark with Rabbit making his second goal, assisted by Brendan Scott.
This week the Stampeders next three games are at home playing the Blackfalds Wranglers Oct. 12, then the Okotoks Bisons Oct. 15 and the next day playing the Banff Academy Bears.