Friday, February 9th: 16-5 Stettler Lightning over the Ponoka Stampeders
The Lightning picked up what’s believed to be their highest scoring win in franchise history on Friday with a 16-5 routing of the Ponoka Stampeders.
Dylan Houston, Quade Cassidy and Logan Spady all recorded hat-tricks, with Houston and Spady both scoring four goals on the night.
Despite the high score, no goals were scored in the first period and the shots were fairly even at 41-34 in Ponoka’s favour. The game was also notable, in that 28 penalties were called, 12 for Ponoka and 16 against Stettler.
The Lightning would score 12 of their goals in the second period, starting with a marker from Dylan Houston 56 seconds into the period. Erik Rost would score a few seconds later at 1:15 to make it 2-0. Quade Cassidy and Brendan Bardwell both scored on the powerplay at 2:36 and 2:54, before Erik Rost scored a short-handed goal four minutes in to take a 5-0 lead.
Stettler then went back on the powerplay, where Dylan Houston scored his second at 6:15, before Quade Cassidy added his second on the night at 9:08. Dylan Houston then scored his third goal shorthanded at 10:29, before Taite Opdendries answered at 11:17 on the powerplay for Ponoka to make it an 8-1 game.
The Bolts would score another shorthanded goal at 12:31 from Logan Spady, before the Stampeders responded to make it 9-2. Logan Spady then picked up his second on the night at 14:40, before Ponoka’s Jonathon Kelly make it a 10-3 game. Stettler would score two more to close out the period, including a hat-trick goal from Quade Cassidy and Dylan Houston’s fourth of the night at 19:13.
The third period opened with a goal from the Lightning’s Tye Mulgrove, ahead of another shorthanded goal from Logan Spady to secure his hat-trick at 6:00 in. Dylan Houston would score his fourth of the night shorthanded at 8:39 to make it a 15-3 game.
Ponoka’s Taite Opdendries scored again for Ponoka before Logan Spady scored his fourth goal shorthanded at 15:17. Taite Opdendries scored a hat-trick for Ponoka at 18:39 to close out the scoring in a 16-5 final.
Lightning Head Coach Rory Rost said of the game: “It was an odd one for sure, a close one with a tie game at zero, and then we scored 12 goals in the second. We also had 6 shorthanded goals on the night, which some teams don’t score over an entire season. I told the boys that’s a testament to their speed.”
Sunday, February 11th: 10-1 Blackfalds Wranglers over the Stettler Lightning
A tough outing on Sunday in Blackfalds to wrap up the HJHL season for the Lightning.
Stettler would stay within reach on the shot-clock (37-40), but were unable to get more than one past Wrangler’s goaltender Lane Brann. As for special teams, the Bolts were only sent to the box twice, compared to five times for Blackfalds.
The Wranglers would open the scoring at 6:53 thanks to a goal from Austin Wilson. Quade Cassidy then scored the only goal for the Lightning at 12:26 to close out the first period at 1-1.
Blackfalds would take control of the game from there, as Austin Wilson scored his second of the night at 3:14 into the second. Ryan Chambers would add two for the Wranglers at 4:20 and 14:14, before Braden Olsen scored for Blackfalds to make it a 5-1 game.
Bronson Spearing added one more for the Wranglers at 15:09 to make it a 6-1 game heading into the third. The third period would see Blackfalds add another tally just 1:16 into the period, thanks to a goal from Brody Bolton.
The Wrangler’s Ryan Chambers secured a hat-trick at 3:42, before Braden Olsen scored fifteen seconds later to make it a 9-1 game. Nathan Kartusch closed out the scoring at 10:47 for Blackfalds to make it a 10-1 final.
As for Sunday’s game, Coach Rost said, “It was a bit of the opposite, as the team had a decent first period tying the game up, but then allowed nine goals in the final two periods. The squad had already matched up with Mountainview with their win on Friday, and needed one more to secure home ice advantage in the playoffs.”
Houston named 2017/18 HJHL Scoring Title Winner
Lightning forward Dylan Houston is this year’s HJHL scoring title winner. The 21 year old had 86 points in 35 games with the Bolts this year (38-G, 48-A). The next closest skater was High River’s Davis Sheldon, who finished the year with 78 points for the Flyers.
HJHL North Division Quarter Final
Stettler finished the season in fifth place with 35 points in 36 games, for a record of 16-17-3. A bit of bad news for the Bolts as Kieran Rost is out for the playoffs with a shoulder injury, after a collision with a Ponoka player over the weekend.
Looking ahead to the series, Coach Rost feels it will be a good battle.
“We played them five or six times this year, and they’ve all been one goal games other than one, so we match up well. They’re a little younger and speedy, so we need to match their speed in order to win. We’ll need a full commitment from all of our players if we’re going to find success.”
Game 1 will be on Wednesday, Feb. 14th at 8:00 PM in Didsbury.
Game 2 will be on Saturday, Feb 17th at 7:30PM in Stettler.
Game 3 will be on Sunday, Feb 18th at 5:00PM in Didsbury if needed.
Elsewhere, the Red Deer Vipers and Airdrie Thunder have secured first round byes for finishing first and second in the North Division.
Blackfalds will face Ponoka as the 3rd and 6th seeds, while Mountainview and Stettler sit 4th and 5th in the division.