By Emily Jaycox For the Independent
The Stettler Lightning Junior B hockey team’s playoff run has ended after suffering two defeats in the first round of playoff against the Blackfalds Wranglers.
Stettler lost the first game on Tuesday, Feb. 12 2-4, and the second game Thursday, Feb. 14, 4-5.
“We’re disappointed it’s over but I think we’re more disappointed we never really iced our best team all year,” said head coach Rory Rost.
“I’m sure that would have made a difference.”
The Lightning played a disciplined, fast and clean game Tuesday night.
“The effort was amazing.”
The Wranglers drew first blood, but the Lightning answered with a goal from No. 26 Tye Mulgrove at 16:07, ending the first frame at a 1-1 tie.
The second period was tightly contested, with neither team scoring until the Wranglers broke away at 10:01, taking the lead.
Neither team scored until halfway through the third period, when No. 15 Jonathan Fournier brought the game to 2-2.
Unfortunately, the Wranglers had the last word, scoring twice more to end the game 4-2.
No. 31 Indiana Kelly was in net with 34 saves.
The Lightning put in a valiant effort in their last-chance game Feb. 14, playing a closer match, but losing by one point, 4-5.
Blackfalds largely controlled the game, but the Lightning didn’t give up, battling the whole game.
The Wranglers scored nine minutes into the game, and again less than two minutes later.
The Lightning fought back and No. 6 Kieran Rost scored at 13:54 from No. 4 Quade Cassidy and No. 7 Braydon Whiteford, ending the first period at 2-1 for Blackfalds.
Fifty seconds into the second frame, the Wranglers scored again.
At 4:50 The Wranglers found the back of the Lightning’s net again, giving them a three-point lead.
Down, but not out, the Lightning scored twice in the last half of the period, bringing the score to a more even 3-4.
Mulgrove scored a shorthanded goal, unassisted, seven minutes into the last frame to tie up the game.
The Wranglers were able to score once more on a power play goal with three minutes left until the buzzer, taking the game 5-4.
No. 8 Brendan Bardwell got a two minute penalty at 16:50 for tripping.
Rost says it was a “phantom call” as the Wrangler played had tripped on his own skates.
Although the season is now over, Rost says if they’d advanced to play against Airdrie, it would have been “a real stern test … we would’ve had a hard time advancing through them.”