Despite a pair of quick goals by the Coronation Royals in their Jan. 27 game against the Stettler Imperials, the floundering team just couldn’t hang on to the lead.
Coronation Royals captain Matt Hangar and forward Tanner Eno opened scoring just over three minutes into the first period with a pair of short-handed goals around 40 seconds apart.
However, it didn’t take long for the Stettler Imperials to start chipping away at that lead. Forward JJ Fournier scored on the powerplay with just over 13 minutes left in the first period. Brendan Bardwell followed that up, tying the game, just over a minute later.
Kieran Rost and Brendan Tucker each picked up a goal later in the period as well, before Royal Cody Yarema brought the score back within one with a goal just under two minutes left in the period.
By the time the buzzer sounded to end the period, the score was 4-3 in favour of Stettler, with shots 18-13, also tilted in Stettler’s favour.
The Royals picked up six minutes worth of penalties in the first period, with Mitch Finkbiner and Mike Neumeier each going to the box for high sticking, and Dane Ellerby getting a call for hooking. The only Imperials penalty in the first was assessed to Austin Stahlberg, who went off for two minutes for cross checking.
Both teams found their defensive footing in the second period, with each team scoring once. Imperial Brett Muhlbach found the back of the net just under two minutes into the frame while Eno picked up his second goal of the night, unassisted, with just over two minutes left in the period.
At the end of the period, the score was 5-4, and shots were 18-14, both in favour of the Imperials.
The Stettler Imperials picked up the first penalty in the second period, when Cody Wright went off two minutes for slashing. The Royals picked up four minutes in penalties as well, with Steven Fletcher going off for two minutes for slashing, and Kurt Gramlich getting called for tripping.
Heading into the third period, Stettler opened strong with a quick goal by Adam Ternes 30 seconds into the frame on the powerplay. Ethan Rost found the back of the net with 3:30 left in the third, also on the powerplay. Finally, Claye Spady finished off scoring with under a minute left.
At the end of third, the final score was 8-4 Stettler. Shots in the period were 10-6 in favour of Coronation, though game totals were 42-37 in favour of Stettler.
Stettler picked up the lion’s share of the penalties in the third period, accruing eight minutes. Casey Wright was sent off for two minutes for hooking. DJ Kistner and Ethan Rost were both assessed two minutes for boarding, and Lowen Cassidy went off for two for roughing.
The Coronation Royals picked up four minutes in penalties; Mike Neumier went off for two minutes for interference, and captain Matt Hangar went off for two for roughing.
Total penalty minutes were 14 for the Royals, and 12 for the Imperials. The Imperials capitalized on three of six power play opportunities, while the Royals were unable to capitalize on any.
The last-place Royals are next at home in Coronation on Feb. 10 when they host fifth-place Hughenden Jets.
Sixth-place Stettler is at home the same night when they host the seventh-place Delburne Outlaws.