Stettler Lightning fans and players alike can breathe a sigh of relief after the team’s eight-game losing streak was snapped with a 6-3 victory over High River this past Friday, Oct. 30.
The team travelled to High River, a rink that has been “challenging” in the past, General Manager Doug Smith said.
“The rink is a bit smaller than ours and they know how to use it to their advantage,” he said.
The High River Flyers were the first to score, about half-way through the first, though five minutes later, Dylan Houston evened the score. Despite a few shots on netminder Taylor McLaughlin, the tally held through to the end of the first period.
“The boys pretty well controlled the plays,” Smith said. “They killed a crucial few penalties in the first.”
Using a first period powerplay that spilled over into the second, the Lightning capitalized on their man-advantage to score 33 seconds into the period, off the stick of Logan Davidson. The Lightning continued to put the pressure on the Flyers, with Houston scoring again at 6:57.
Ahead now 3-1, the Lightning relaxed slightly to catch their breath and the Flyers capitalized, evening the score again before the end of the second.
Unwilling to go home empty-handed, the Lightning rallied and threw everything they had against the Flyers. Penalties were frequent as both teams threw everything they had behind trying to score, but despite the powerplay opportunities for both teams, neither were able to pull ahead.
With less than three minutes left in game play, Matt Johannson managed to snap the puck past Flyers’ netminder Bryce Shegelski. The face-off in the Flyers’ end-zone was controlled by the Lightning, who turned around and scored again, netting Houston his second goal of the game.
With but a minute on the clock, the Flyers pulled their goalie in an attempt to even the score, but it worked in the Lightning’s favour as Jacob Bottomley earned himself an empty-net goal.
“It was a highly contested game,” Smith noted. “Both teams wanted to win very badly, and the Flyers are the walking wounded — they had several people in casts.”
Despite the Friday win, the Lightning still hold last place in the Northern Division of the Heritage Junior Hockey League. High River, who was looking to break their losing streak, is tied for last place with Medicine Hat in the Southern Division.
The Lightning’s Saturday game against the Medicine Hat Cubs was postponed to an as yet undetermined date. The Lightning played last night, Tuesday, Nov. 3, in Blackfalds but results were not available by press time.
The next home game for the Lightning is Friday, Nov. 13 as they face Airdrie. The game launches a five-game home-game stretch, with the Lightning playing at home on Nov. 13, 14, 17, 20 and 21. All game times are at 7:30 p.m. except the Tuesday, Nov. 17 game which begins at 8:15 p.m.