Stettler Lightning confidently overpowered the Ponoka Stampeders in their last pre-season game, paving the way for a smooth beginning for their Heritage Junior B Hockey League title campaign.
The Lightning dominated most of the game, refusing to allow the Stampeders easy access to their half of the rink.
Particularly in the second period, Lightning players laid a siege around the Stampeders goal with the Lightning goalie having to touch the puck less than a dozen times in 20 minutes.
Despite that pressure, the Lightning did not score in the second period.
The first goal of the home team came early in the first period when Brett Oulette scored to an assist by Jordan Vincent in the fourth minute.
After a the dry second period, Stampeders opened the third period with an equalizer, which received a response with Mitch Finkbiner acting on an assist from the Brett Oulette to score the second goal. About five minutes later, Cody Smitten provided the assist and Lanny Duncan scored the last goal of the game.
Head coach Doug Smith said their defensive game was quite satisfactory and that defense would be one of their strongest points in the season.
He added the drought in scoring score in the second period was due to both a very efficient game by the Stampeders goalie and lack of good shooting on the part of Lightning offense.
“We are now ready for the season,” said Smith.
“The guys are all in the mode and ready to get on with it.”
“We finalized our line-up as much as we can for the time being,” said Smith leaving open the possibility that new faces could still join the team in the coming weeks.
“We still might have to make a couple of choices after three or four league games,” he said.
As for the season opener on home ice this Saturday, coach Smith said they would be playing against a young but well prepared team.
“We’ll just have to stick to our game plan and do what we do best.”
Lightning will be hosting Banff at 7.30 p.m. Saturday, October 3 at the Stettler Recreation Centre.