Stettler Lightning had a great start to their weekend as they went on to beat Mountainview Colts 2-1 on Friday, Dec. 18, but they suffered once again at the hands of Three Hills Thrashers on Saturday, Dec. 19 losing in the shootout 2-1, falling further behind in the race for playoff spots.
In their first game on Friday, the Lightning boys took charge right from the start with Dylan Houston scoring in the eighth minute of the first period with a pass from Jacob Bottomley.
Lightning kept playing a solid game against Colts and no goals were scored in the second period.
A recharged Colts team equalized in the first few minutes of the third period, but Lightning came back and shattered their defence by scoring a second goal.
Chandler Knibb scored the second goal with a pass from Tyler Wagner and Jacob Bottomley.
“I think Friday night was the best effort we have had from all 20 players that were in the lineup and we did an excellent job of staying composed and keeping Mountainview to the outside, making sure to shut down the stretch plays that they were looking for, which eliminated any chance they had of getting their firewagon brand of hockey going,” said head coach Gavin Brandl. “Any time you can match up against a team that averages five goals per game and limit them to one you have to be happy and it was an effort that all the boys should be proud of.”
In their second game on Saturday, against the Three Hills Thrashers, Lightning once again made an impressive start with Dylan Houston scoring unassisted in the first period, but they were unable to maintain the pressure on the Thrashers defence.
The opponents equalized in the second period, but Linden Heidecker scored with a pass from Dylan Houston within a couple of minutes, giving Lightning the lead 2-1.
Thrashers scored again at the end of the second period, pushing the score to 2-2.
In the third period Lightning player Dylan Houston scored his second goal with a pass from Chase McGonigal and Chandler Knibb, giving his team the 3-2 lead.
But once again Thrashers came back and equalized the score in the final minutes of the game, forcing an overtime.
With both teams playing a great game, the overtime was goalless, leading to shootout.
Dylan Houston scored his first, but with Steven Fletcher and DJ Kistner’s goals being blocked by opponent goalie, Thrashers took the game 2-1.
“Saturday was a tough loss to take, giving up a goal with two minutes left and then losing in a shootout, but it’s easy to point fingers at the players who were on the ice for the tying goal but the fact of the matter was that we had 58 minutes of hockey prior to that point where we just didn’t execute our game plan,” said Brandl. “We were soft all over the ice, and we didn’t hit them nearly as much as we should have and although we put 39 shots on net, their goalie saw every single one of them and at no point did we have anyone determined enough to make his job hard.”
According to Brandl, Lightning has a plethora of divisional games left on the schedule and certainly can’t afford to leave any more points on the table.
“The general consensus amongst my fellow coaches and myself is that taking 3/4 points from two of the top teams in the division should be deemed a successful weekend, but we really feel like we missed an opportunity to win both those games and now we have to hope that leaving that extra point on the table against Three Hills doesn’t come back to haunt us,” said Brandl.