Submitted by Rory Rost Head coach
The Stettler Lightning had a busy week of hockey, starting with an exhibition game Tuesday, September 12 in Blackfalds.
We were a little short-handed due to work and college conflicts, some illness and injuries, and a suspension. We ended up losing to Blackfalds 6-1.
The following night, the team went to Ponoka with about the same line-up and lost 4-1. It was 1-0 for Ponoka going into the third period and the boys just ran out of gas. We ended up with only 10 skaters at the end of the game, which made coaching quite easy as it was essentially “next line out there”. On the funny side, we took a time out with about four minutes left which was not strategic, but just to give the boys an extra minute of rest.
On Friday, September 15, our road trip continued on to Didsbury to play Mountainview. While we had lost earlier this month to them in a shootout, we had a little better turnout and played an average first period. We were lucky to be up 1-0 as goalie Taylor Frank made some very good stops. We played much better in the second and third and ended up winning 5-3. Jared Lee replaced Frank in net half-way through the second period and also played well. Our veterans contributed both offensively and defensively in the win, but the overall team effort and speed was quite good. Kieran Rost got two goals and an assist and Dylan Houston chipped in with a couple of points.
We ended the week with a home game against Blackfalds (which was our last exhibition game of the pre-season) on Sunday afternoon. We were not mentally prepared for the start of the game and were outshot 20-4 and down 2-0 after the first period. We battled back to make it a game, with very strong play in the second and third. “We were committed to play a harder/heavier game, with a much better fore-check, which resulted in us making the game close”. We ended up losing 5-3, but giving up an empty net goal. The hole we dug ourselves in the first 10 minutes was too deep for us to recover.
Our overall preseason record was 2 wins, 3 losses and a tie. We will have two good practices this week and begin our regular season this Friday at 8 p.m. in Stettler against Three Hills.