Returning forward Kyler O’Connor of Castor was among the scorers as the Stettler Lightning swept the Mountainview Colts in a home-and-home series last weekend in Heritage Junior Hockey League exhibition action. The Lightning

Lightning show spark in pre-season play

It’s still the pre-season, but the Stettler Lightning are already getting down to business.

It’s still the pre-season, but the Stettler Lightning are already getting down to business.

Sporting a relatively experienced lineup, the Lightning made short work of the Mountainview Colts in a home-and-home exhibition series, winning 7-2 on Saturday night at the Stettler Recreation Centre after posting a 6-1 victory Friday night at Didsbury.

Doug Smith, the coach and general manager of the Heritage Junior Hockey League team, believes the weekend results are a sign of things to come for the Lightning, who visit the Ponoka Stampeders tonight to conclude pre-season play.

Smith noted, however, that Mountainview was still early in its evaluation of prospective players, while Stettler was at a later stage in its season preparation.

“We were way more concentrated than they were at this point,” he said. “The one lineup, they only had four or five returning players. And the second night, they had probably 10 in there.

“In either case, I was looking for certain things from our guys — if there was a little bit of chemistry with some different line combinations, and we kind of saw that. We’re working really hard on establishing a forecheck right off the bat and working really hard on our defensive positioning from basically the centreline back to our net.

“That was kind of the real emphasis in both those hockey games. For a start, we picked up our basic concepts fairly well, other than a mental meltdown in the last minute of the first period at home here. Otherwise, it was pretty well-played.”

The Kid Line — newcomer Dylan Houston with twins Adam and Scott Ternes — has paid early dividends. They collected seven points Saturday as Houston scored two goals, Adam Ternes netted a goal and two assists, and Scott Ternes bagged a couple of assists.

On the previous night, the former midget linemates combined for eight points. Houston and Scott Ternes each had a goal and two assists, and Adam Ternes added one of each.

“Dylan (Houston) had good chemistry with Scott and Adam Ternes, because they played together all through midget, so there was that instant click right away,” Smith said.

Another set of twins — Derek and Dylan Muhlbach — has returned to the Lightning after playing senior hockey last season at home in Big Valley, giving Stettler more depth at forward and defence.

Dylan Muhlbach, Reese Anheliger, Kyler O’Connor and Randon Rankin also scored for Stettler on Saturday. Veteran goaltender Simon Thieleman made 28 saves.

Thieleman also played the third period of Friday’s game, stopping 10 of the 11 shots he faced. Jeff Skaley, trying out for a goaltending job, blocked all 29 shots he faced through two periods.

For tonight’s game at Ponoka, Smith plans to go with Skaley and midget-aged goalie Jordan McCallum. Smith said McCallum is in camp for the experience and that he would return to midget to play a leading role this season.

As for Skaley …

“We’ll just see if Jeff can build off of his really good play he had in Mountainview (last Friday), and we go from there,” Smith said.

“The goaltending has been solid … (but) I know we’ll see one or two more goaltenders come through as Red Deer and Blackfalds reduce their rosters. Everybody that’s played goal so far has played really well. That’s a good feeling.”

Anheliger, Dylan Muhlbach and Landon Potter scored the other Stettler goals in the opening exhibition game.

The Lightning were scheduled to host Ponoka on Monday night, but the Stampeders were unable to commit to that game early in their camp.

Stettler has been practising since late August. The Lightning are carrying 24 players, and Smith plans to keep extra bodies on board because the reality of junior B hockey is that work commitments make some players unavailable on some nights.

“We’ve got a good base returning from last year, and a couple of guys returned from a couple of years ago, and then we have some new faces that had played together before at other levels,” Smith said. “That really makes a difference in that they know each other well.

“On defence, it’s nice to see that we have eight very usable defencemen. It’s a nice luxury to have — that we have solid guys back there. If we have injuries, we’re able to adapt quite quickly from game to game.”

Among the familiar faces on the blue-line are Cam and Cody Wright, Steven Fletcher, Mark Dietz, Dylan Muhlbach and D.J. Kistner.

Some of those defencemen can also pitch in at forward, as Kistner will do in tonight’s game, Smith said.

“That’s a real plus. We have a couple of D-men back there that can play forward, as well as defence.”

The Lightning begin their regular season on the road Sept. 20 against the Three Hills Thrashers.

Just Posted

Rhapsody Girls and Tiny Tenors take top award at Provincial Choral Festival

Tears rolled down their cheeks when winners announced: Sylvester

Court full as schools, parents dispute Alberta gay-straight alliance law

Justice Centre argues keeping parents out of the loop violates freedom of religion and expression

Stettler RCMP ask for public’s help

Wants to identify alleged shoplifter

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

In reversal, Trump signs executive order to stop family separation

President had been wrongly insisting he had no choice but to separate families apprehended at border

Clearview and Wolf Creek school boards sign historic agreement

Partnership will help 2,000 high school students

Trudeau says he can’t imagine Trump damaging U.S. by imposing auto tariffs

New tariffs on Canadian autos entering the U.S. would amount to a self-inflicted wound on the U.S. economy

B.C. inmate gets 2 years in prison for assault on guard

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

Temperature records broken across B.C., again

The first heat wave of the season went out with a bang across the province

Canada’s first national accessibility law tabled in Ottawa

The introduction of the Accessible Canada Act marked a key step towards greater inclusion

Police chief calls for mass casualty plan in Saskatchewan after Broncos crash

Former Saskatoon police chief Clive Weighill said the office was tasked with creating such a plan 13 years ago but none exists

U.S. schools mum on ties to doc in sex abuse inquiry

A now-dead doctor accused of sexual misconduct acted as a team physician at other universities

Phillies fan injured by flying hot dog

Allegedly the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, rolled out his hot dog launcher

Most Read

Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.