Junior B hockey was in the spotlight Friday night at Castor Arena, which hosted its annual Heritage Junior Hockey League game.
And the local fans went home happy as the home team, the Stettler Lightning, spanked the winless Ponoka Stampeders 6-1.
The game featured four Castor players who are integral parts of the Lightning — goaltender Simon Thieleman, forward Kyler O’Connor and defencemen Mark Dietz and Steven Fletcher.
Big Valley’s Derek Muhlbach was the man of the hour, as he completed his hat trick with 18 seconds left in the game.
Dylan Houston and twins Adam and Scott Ternes also scored for Stettler. Fletcher assisted on the third-period goal by Adam Ternes, who had a two-point night.
Veteran goalie Thieleman blocked 17 shots, while his teammates fired 46 shots at Eli Falls in a rambunctious tilt between rivals. Reese Anheliger, a feisty Lightning forward, picked up 32 minutes’ worth of penalties.
It was the lone weekend game for the Lightning, who improved their record to 19-9-1. Stettler is just three points behind the Northern-Division-leading Blackfalds Wranglers (20-7-2). Ponoka (0-24-2) is solidly in last place in the seven-team Northern Division and in the entire 13-team league.
The Stampeders continue to pay tribute to their former teammate, Damian Pannenbecker, who died in a highway crash earlier this month. His name was listed on Friday’s scoresheet, with “RIP” written alongside it.
This weekend, Stettler visits Three Hills on Friday and hosts Mountainview on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.