Stamps’ goalie Robert Michetti shows how flexible he really is making a save Jan. 11 against Stettler Lightning. The Stamps lost 7-4 being short several players who had a game suspension.

Stamps’ goalie Robert Michetti shows how flexible he really is making a save Jan. 11 against Stettler Lightning. The Stamps lost 7-4 being short several players who had a game suspension.

Stamps limping as season coming to a close

A bad week has seen the Ponoka Stampeders left clinging to a playoff spot with just a week and a half left in the season.

A bad week has seen the Ponoka Stampeders left clinging to a playoff spot with just a week and a half left in the season.

A loss at home to Stettler a week ago combined with losses in Airdrie Jan. 13 and at home to Mountainview Jan. 15 saw the club’s hopes of catching Stettler for fifth place go down the drain, while seeing Three Hills climb to within striking distance of that last playoff spot.

The Stamps fell 7-4 to Stettler Jan. 11, then were bombed 15-1 in Airdrie followed by a literal collapse in a 10-1 dumping by Mountainview to run the club’s losing skid to four. Meanwhile, Three Hills edged Stettler 4-3 in overtime Jan. 14 to bust out of a 17 game losing streak and get within six points of Ponoka for the final playoff berth in the North Division.

Against Stettler, the Stampeders got off to a poor start and were down 1-0 after the first period plus were outshot 14-6. The second saw little in the way of defence as both squads seemed to score at will.

James Lea tied it for Ponoka just over two minutes in, followed by a pair from Stettler that included one shorthanded marker. Brayden Wells brought the Stamps back a bit with a goal at the exact mid-point of the game only to have Stettler retake its two-goal lead little more than a minute later.

Ponoka’s Taite Opdendries and Roenick Minde put the home side back on even terms with goals before the end of the second, but that would be it for the Stamps as Stettler carried the play in the third, outshooting Ponoka 18-7 and scoring three goals in the final four minutes.

The game in Airdrie could be called a turkey shoot, as the teams combined for 120 shots on goal, although Airdrie made most of their 70 shots count in the 15-1 rout. Nate Higgins scored for the Stamps near the midway mark of the third for his team leading 29th goal of the season.

Versus Mountainview, Ponoka wasn’t able to counter its opponent’s speed or generate many good scoring chances in the 10-1 loss. Jacob Sayler’s goal, a nice backhand roof job with four and half minutes gone in the second, was the lone bright spot for Ponoka. The club was once again outshot, this time 41-29.

Hoof prints: The Stampeders have just six games left on the schedule and two of those are on home ice, Jan. 28 versus Red Deer and their last game of the season Feb. 4 against Three Hills. The Stamps are 14 points behind Stettler, so they won’t be any higher in the standings than they are now.

However, the Stamps need to be on the lookout over their shoulder as Three Hills is just six points back and the road for Ponoka won’t be easy. The club has three straight on the road versus teams above them in the standings Strathmore Jan. 21, Stettler Jan. 24 and Banff Jan. 28 with scoring being a problem lately. That wouldn’t be such a concern, except the Stamps have given up the most goals in the league at 215, that’s 38 more than the next closest team.