The Bolts gave their fans a treat on Tuesday, Jan. 24 as they took on Ponoka and won 6-2, and later in the week faced Airdrie in an away game on Friday, Jan. 27 and defeated them 5-3.
In their game against Ponoka, the Bolts were down 1-0, but a Dylan Houston from Tyler Wagner, followed by an unassisted Quade Cassidy goal, brought them back right into the game as they led 2-1 into the second period.
With a strong defence and maintaining pressure on their opponents, the Bolts were rewarded as Houston scored his second from Brendan Bardwell.
Going into the third period, the Bolts were confident from the 3-1 lead, which was further ensconced with three more goals – Bardwell from Matt Sylvester and Houston; Logan Davidson unassisted; Dawson Beck from Braydon Whiteford and Ethan Rost.
Even though the Stamps made an attempt to even the score quite regularly, the Bolts came away with a 6-2 win.
“In both games this week we really wanted to start to shift into playoff mode,” said Gavin Brandl, head coach. “Essentially we wanted to pounce early offensively and then make sure we didn’t surrender any leads that we were able to get and we managed to do that fairly well.”
Against Airdrie, the Bolts started an early onslaught with the first goal by Cassidy off Whiteford.
This was followed in the second period by a Kyle Ringdahl, from Ethan Rost.
However, Airdrie crept up with two successive goals and into the second period, it was 2-2, until Bardwell scored, assisted by Beck and Houston.
Going into the third period 3-2, the Bolts were far from secure.
“It starts with goaltending and we got two pretty solid games out of both guys so that was big,” Brandl said. “From there on out in both games we were really calm and confident in the way we were doing things.”
Another Bardwell goal from Sylvester, followed by Bryce Cornelissen’s off Ringdahl, had the Bolts at 5-2, before Airdrie scored their third, ending the game 5-3.
“We started this season with an unprecedented 14 rookies, and now that everyone essentially has a full season under their belt you can really see the difference in everyone, particularly in the way we manage the puck and the way we check,” Brandl added. “We have a room full of guys that want to win and now that we are at the point of the season where games are getting more important you can see the energy level ramping up.”
According to Brandl, there are two really big games this weekend.
“These are good opportunities to continue pushing ourselves in the right direction so that we are ready for playoffs,” Brandl said. “We are definitely excited about where we are at right now.”
The Bolts take on Blackfalds Wranglers next on Friday, Feb. 3 in a home game and will face Mountainview Colts on Saturday, Feb. 4 in an away game.