Another win at home was in sight for Ponoka’s Junior Heritage League representatives, the Stampeders, but trouble in the third period put them out of the running.
The Stampeders played the Cochrane Generals Sunday, Nov. 30 with all the pizazz and fire in their game needed to ensure a win. And they seemed ready for just that, but eventually lost 5-3.
Referees dealt with some minor scuffles at the start of the game but they encouraged players to keep on playing to avoid longer penalty times.
First to score for the home boys was Braeden Grant during a power play with help from Nate Higgins and Chandler Nibb.
The Generals didn’t let up the pressure however, scoring two goals in the first. It was anybody’s game coming into the second period with the Stampeders being behind by one point. Ponoka tied it up 2-2 with a goal just six minutes into the period. Kwyn Hiebert earned that goal with help from Tyson Crampain and Austin Ancion.
Instead of giving up, the Generals skated to score 12 minutes into the second period. Despite taking the lead 3-2, the Generals were held at bay and could not capitalize on several chances for another goal. At one point in the game, the Generals had outshot the Stampeders 28 shots on goal to 14 of the hosts.
The third period changed the game for the Generals, who scored on a power play only 35 seconds into the play. Two and a half minutes later they scored again, making their lead that much stronger at 5-2. The Stampeders were able to score one more time, again capitalizing on a power play, with Chandler Knibb sending the puck to Generals’ net. The assist went to Nate Higgins and Tanner Bukkems.
Total shots on goal were 39 for the Generals and 25 for Ponoka.
The day before, the Stampeders played the Strathmore Wheatland Kings with the exactly same score of a 3-5 loss.
Ponoka had eight power plays against them and the Kings capitalized on two. The only thing holding Ponoka back from defeating Strathmore was an inability to capitalize on power plays, 16 to be exact.
The Stampeders also had more shots on goal with 42 compared to 38 for the Kings.
Ponoka’s Dawson Kress scored their first goal with help from Tye Munro. Then in the second, Tye Munro scored the Stampeders’ second goal. He was assisted by Brendan Scott. Justin McKenzie scored their last goal with help again from Brendan Scott.
The Stampeders next home game is Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. against the Banff Bears.