The streak is over after a Saturday win for the Stettler Lightning, who won in an overtime shootout against the Mountainview Colts, 4-3.
The game almost didn’t make it to overtime after the Colts had a shot at the empty Lightning net when goalie Simon Thieleman was caught away. But Thieleman threw himself across the ice and blocked the shot midair, earning cheers and whistles from the home crowd.
Stettler started the game strong with Scott Ternes taking advantage of a power play to score the first goal of the game. A few minutes later, though, the Colts equalized, ending the first 1-1.
Two goals by the Colts at the start of the second put the visiting team ahead 3-1, though the Lightning had several promising shots on net throughout the majority of the period. It was only in the last five minutes of the period that the gap narrowed, courtesy of a powerplay goal by Adamn Ternes.
Only minutes into the third, Cody Hoskins took advantage of another Colts penalty to even the score, and the rest of the third period went by with several opportunities for both teams to score, including the desperate save by Thieleman.
“That’s probably one that shouldn’t have happened,” head coach and general manager Doug Smith said of Thieleman’s dramatic save. “All credit goes to Simon there.”
Smith said Thieleman’s impressive save and the crowd’s enthusiastic response helped lift the spirits of the tired players, who already were playing hard for a win.
“It gave us all a good kick,” Smith said.
That good kick helped the team keep most of the play in the Colts’ end during the remainder of the third, including several minutes where the Lightning had two players in the penalty box. The third ended in a tie, and the five minute, four-on-four overtime period went by without a goal, sending it to another overtime shootout.
“Shootouts are a crapshoot,” Smith said. “It reduces a team game to an individual’s skills.”
This marks the third time the Lightning have gone into a shootout in the past 12 games, with the first two resulting in losses for the Stettler team. This time, though, Colts’ goalie Thomas Della Siega was the one who broke under pressure, giving up the necessary goal in the first round.
“(The win) has buoyed us up big time,” Smith said after the game. “It’s like you’re able to breathe again.”
He gave credit to the Lightning players, who endured 11 losses, many in overtime and several more by only a goal, in the past two months.
“We’re learning from our mistakes, and we’re not repeating them,” he said.
The Lightning now have two away games before they’re back on home ice on Friday, Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. against Coaldale. They play the next day against Okotoks at 7:30 p.m.