It was a head-to-head battle as Bolts took on Blackfalds Wranglers on Friday, Feb. 3 in a home game. But in the end, unable to maintain the pressure, the Bolts conceded, losing 3-2.
This loss was followed by a crushing 10-4 defeat by the Mountainview Colts in Didsbury on Saturday, Feb. 4.
As they start their play-off games tonight, Feb. 8 in an away game in Blackfalds, playing the very same team that overpowered them less than a week ago, it will be interesting to see what the Bolts come up with.
Playing the best-of-three games, Bolts will face off a second time this Saturday, Feb. 11 in Stettler, followed by a third game, if needed, on Sunday, Feb. 12 in Blackfalds.
In their Friday game, Stettler equalized Wranglers’ first goal as Braydon Whiteford scored off Rylee Jacobson.
Maintaining pressure on their opponents and keeping a tight defence, there was no scoring in the second period.
However, in the third period as the Wranglers surged ahead 2-1, the Bolts were determined to get back into the game and Kieran Rost scored, assisted by Logan Davidson.
For most of the third period both teams played a close game till the Wranglers scored in the 12th minute and although Bolts played some of their best game towards the end, they were unable to score.
“The game against Blackfalds really had a playoff like feel to it and I think we showed that we are prepared and that it will be a tight and exciting series,” said Gavin Brandl, head coach. “It was back and forth the whole game, really could have gone either way at any point. We lost our discipline in the last ten minutes and a powerplay goal for them sealed the game.”
On Saturday, Feb. 4 against Mountainview Colts, the Bolts put up a brave fight, but were unable to match up to the opponents.
Davidson scored their first goal off Ethan Rost and Cayden Spady, but soon the Colts caught up in the second period and led 2-1.
Stettler’s Matt Sylvester scored the equalizer from Davidson, but the Colts shattered the Stettler defence, scoring three goals with the second period ending 5-2 for Colts.
In the third period, the Colts led 6-2, and although two Ethan Rost goals brought some reprieve in the Bolts’ camp with the score reading 6-4, it was short lived.
The Colts were to score four more goals in the third period, leading 10-4 and emerging as the dominant team in this encounter.
“The boys have worked their tails off up to this point now all that is left is to go have fun and play the games,” Brandl explained. “Everyone is fired up, and this matchup against Blackfalds is definitely a fun challenge.”
The Bolts will play Blackfalds in their second game on Saturday, Feb. 11 in Stettler. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
“With us having missed playoffs last season it means it has been two years since there was playoff hockey in Stettler, we hope our fans and the community are just as excited about us being back in them as we are,” Brandl said. “It’s going to be entertaining, that I can guarantee.”