The Ponoka Stampeders’ 8-3 loss to the Mountainview Colts Saturday, Jan. 3 was tough but the team showed moments of brilliance.
The Stampeders were forced to play a largely defensive game early in the first period after the Colts scored three goals.
One of the goals was scored when the Colts had a player in the penalty box.
During the second half of the first period the Stampeders put the pressure on to try and gain some momentum. They were able to hold the strong Colts’ offense 3-0 at the end of the first period. Shots on goal were 11-6 for the Colts.
Whatever Coach Mark Dobler said to players during the break seemed to work, within seconds of the second period starting Ponoka scored. And again about 50 seconds later they scored bringing it to a one point game at 3-2.
“We showed that we can play with these guys. We showed that we can play with any team in the league,” said goalie Eli Falls.
“We got our legs going there towards the second,” he added.
By the end of the second period, the Colts brought it back to a three-point lead by scoring two goals.
Shots on goal at the end of the second period were 25-15 for the Colts.
Ponoka was able to score one more goal in the first half of the third period but the Colts managed to score two of their own bringing their lead to 7-3. Coach Dobler switched goalies from Falls to backup Joe Gable to try and shake up the team but it was too late.
The Stampeders suffered penalty trouble in the third period as well and there were times the Colts faced off with five men against Ponoka’s three. It was all the Stampeders could do to hold off the Colts’ offense but Mountainview scored during a power play with 7:46 left in the period.
At the end of the game shots on goal were 36-26 for the Colts.
Despite the loss, Falls feels the team is improving compared to recent years.
He suggests if the team can play a consistent 60 minutes they would have a strong chance against the best of the Heritage Junior Hockey League teams. Looking back at his three years with the Stampeders, Falls said Ponoka used to be more like a pick up team but a dedicated coaching staff and board of directors has changed that.
“By the end of the year in my first year we finished with like eight guys on a road trip,” he explained.
With the dedication of staff behind the scenes and a new locker room to boot, the Stampeders have been able to entice decent players to the roster and to keep them. “We see all the hard work paying off,” he concluded.
The Stampeders’ next game is Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 7:45 p.m. at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex against one the league’s toughest teams, Blackfalds Wranglers.