There is renewed confidence in Stettler Lightning as the team goes into the Christmas break with one handsome win at home and one unlucky loss at an away game last week.
The Lightning prevailed over Strathmore Wheat Kings 7-4 on Friday, Dec. 18 in a game dominated by the local team throughout the game.
Lanny Duncan started to put numbers on the scoreboard in the fifth minute of the first period and the local boys had a 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. They kept their lead throughout the game with Clayton Herzog, Gavin Brandl, Jeff Kohut, Jordan Vincent. Duncan’s second goal in the fifth minute of the third period was followed by Clayton Herzog’s second goal just four minutes from regular time.
In the game against the Vipers in Red Deer the next day, the Lightning again led the game until the middle of the third period but could not hold on to it through the end.
At the eighth minute of the third period, the Lightning was leading 4-2 when the hosts began an aggressive offensive campaign to score three goals to end the game 5-4.
Lightning head coach Doug Smith was pleased with the efficiency of his players.
“We played very well in both of the games,” said Smith.
“We were fortunate to get the puck in the net and get the lead for a change and that changed the whole scenario for the players. When you play with the lead, you don’t have that pressure,” he said in reference to the home game against Strathmore.
“We were very good but we just relaxed and did not control the puck as we should have over the last eight minutes,” Smith said with regards to the Vipers game.
“But we definitely have the effort there. There is just a different feeling in the team and we have gained confidence, we are executing the game plan and doing what we do best.”
Under the revised schedule of the Heritage Junior B Hockey League due to cancellations of many games during the first weekend in December because of heavy snowfall, the Lightning now have to play a home game against Mountain View on Jan. 3, immediately after the new year holidays.
Coach Smith said the players would have a break until after the Christmas but that they would start practice immediately after to get ready for the game.
The Lightning later travel at the end of that week to play Mountain View at the opponent’s arena.
The Lightning still sits at the third position with 7 wins and 15 points in the Northern Division after Blackfalds Wranglers and Red Deer Vipers.