Stettler Lightning came to the brink of snapping their losing streak at home on Saturday, Oct. 25 when they hosted Medicine Hat Cubs but lost 6-5 in the shoot-out and they also lost to Okotoks the following day on the road with a score of 3-1, but neither of the losses dented the confidence of Lightning general manager and head coach Doug Smith.
In Saturday’s game, the Stettler boys opened scoring the very first minute of the first period when Adam Ternes scored from mid-range and the hosts were comfortable throughout the rest of the first period and held off the waves of attacks coming from the Cubs offense.
But when the second period began, it was a different story. When the visitors squeezed four goals into the first nine minutes of the second period, Lightning bench called a timeout just to remind the Stettler boys not to collapse and stick to the game plan. The timeout turned out to be a well targeted move and the Lightning staged a comeback in the second half of the second period with two scores, with Scott Ternes undersigning both points. The period ended with a 4-3 lead for the Cubs.
The third period began with a storming Lightning offense taking the control of the puck and equalizing right in the second minute. Then the defense intensified their efforts to keep the hosts from taking positions that would allow them to take shots, and Steller boys did manage to hold off the Medicine Hat opponents for about eight minutes but could not stop them from scoring another point to take the lead again:5-4.
Just two minutes from the end of regulation, Lightning offense managed to capitalize on the powerplay opportunity when two Cubs players were sent to penalty box within ten seconds of each other and scored the equalizer to send the match to overtime.
The five-minute single overtime period was not enough for either of the teams to set up an offensive play to score and the time for the shootout arrived.
The Cubs goalie stopped all the shots from the Lightning players but the Stettler goalie conceded only one and it was enough for the visitors to claim the win.
The following day, The Lightning traveled to Okotoks for what head coach Doug Smith described as the “toughest game played this season” by the Stettler team. Lightning lost the game with a score of 3-1 with the only point for the Stettler boys coming from Dylan Houston in the first period.
Despite the losses, head coach Smith gave credit to his players for the comeback they staged in the Medicine Hat game and for keeping Okotoks at bay during Sunday’s game.
He said, in particular of the Sunday’s game: “We skated well and we played well. Okotoks was a team that they knew what they were doing and they worked hard to stop us from doing what we wanted to do.”
Looking ahead to the weekend’s games against Airdrie on Friday, Oct. 31 and Three Hills on Saturday, Nov. 1, coach Smith sounded optimistic, given that they have now played both teams and have an idea about the opponents’ game plans.
“We will have our big guys join in the offense for the weekend,” added Smith in reference to some players who couldn’t play over the last weekend.