If the Ponoka Stampeders rookies play like they did against Vegreville last week the veterans may be sitting on the bench.
That’s the message head coach Tyler Fiveland wants to get across to his players after a mixed performance over the weekend. The Stampeders played Vegreville in a two-game exhibition match-up Sept. 16 and 18.
The first game was all rookies, says Fiveland, with the team winning 7-0. With the veterans on board Sept. 18 the Stampeders lost 5-2. “We had all rookies that care and want to make the team,” stated Fiveland.
The poor performance on Sept. 17 during a regular season game against the Red Deer Vipers where Ponoka lost 4-0.
“Most of them are going to be looking for a new team if this keeps up,” he said.
Challenges in the Red Deer game revealed themselves with too many passes before taking a shot on goal. Add to that the intensity level was not where it should have been.
Indeed, shots on goal for Ponoka were 22 against Red Deer while Stampeders’ goalie Carter Gendreau took 40 shots.
For Fiveland the difference is in the effort and he highlighted the first Vegreville game as the example.
“We had only 11 skaters (Sept. 16) in Vegreville…as soon as the veterans show up (Sept. 18) we’ve got them taking stupid penalties,” said Fiveland.
He wants to see more focus on playing than fighting.
“They can’t take a hit. Somebody hits them and they drop their gloves.”
The only difference between the two exhibition games, said Fiveland, is the goalies were different.
For the Red Deer game things looked pretty even in the first period with no goals by the end of it. That all changed somewhat early on in the second with two pucks dropped in the net within two minutes of each other.
In the third the Vipers cleaned up with another two goals solidifying the win. Penalty-wise the game was relatively clean. Ponoka finished with 12 total penalty minutes while Red Deer finished with 10 penalty minutes.
Ponoka’s home opener is set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m.