For the first time in a while, the Ponoka Stampeders have started the season off on a winning streak.
The Stamps literally fought off their opposition Sept. 28 in a 7-2 win over the expansion Rams in front of a packed house in Rocky Mountain House.
Both teams combined for 254 penalty minutes, the majority of which came late in the second period and third periods, courtesy of a few fights and several misconducts dished out.
Stamps bench boss Mike Nesbitt said the capacity crowd for Rocky’s home opener, and the fact Ponoka has a couple of players from the area, likely contributed to the “spirited” action on the ice.
“This team is really coming together and I’m really enjoying how they are playing right now,” he stated in a phone interview.
“Definitely having a huge crowd brought some excitement and with the game out of hand, something was bound to happen.”
Nesbitt was pleased the club’s offence continued its steady scoring pace, with Devin Anderson notching a hat trick to go along with singles from Kolton Muyers, Kodan Smallboy, Ethan Yellowbird and Wade Lightburn with a powerplay marker.
“We were playing a bit out of character in the first period, but I told them in the intermission that we want to go out there get the victory,” he said.
“And that night our defense played really well and our goaltender Geoffrey Drought was great.”
Both of the Rams goals came in the third, with a shorthanded effort and a powerplay goal with 33 seconds left.
The Rams did outshoot the Stamps 34-29, while both clubs were statistically terrible with the man advantage as Ponoka went one for 20 and Rocky just one for 16.
“It wasn’t like we were bad on the powerplay, it’s that we would wind up getting a penalty against us in the middle of the powerplay,” Nesbitt explained.
Bucking the trend — The Stampeders hope to keep the streak going when they visit Lomond in Claresholm Oct. 5 before finally making an appearance at home in what Nesbitt feels will be a huge weekend for the club. The Stamps will take on Mountainview Oct. 12 (puck drop 8:45 p.m.) and then face the currently undefeated Red Deer Vipers Oct. 13 in a 3 p.m. matinee contest.
“I’m really happy with where this team is and hopefully we can see a big crowd come out to see us in our first real game at home,” Nesbitt added.