By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent
The Stettler Lightning junior B hockey team is steadily discovering who they are and what they can do on the ice after splitting a weekend series 1-1 in southern Alberta.
Game 1 Fri., Oct. 13 the Lightning traveled to High River south of Calgary to take on the Flyers. Final score was a 10-3 loss.
Head coach Rory Rost said the Lightning came out energetically, scoring a quick goal to take the lead. He said Stettler was on the verge of dominating the game with 9-2 shots in the first period.
However, High River wasn’t about to give up an easy game on their home ice, and responded with two goals.
Rost said the quick shift of momentum seemed to deflate the Stettler Lightning a bit. “We’re kind of a fragile team right now,” he said by phone Oct. 16.
The head coach said looking at the stats sheet for the game, High River only dominated on the scoreboard, as otherwise the Lightning were competitive.
He said the loss was something the team would have to take a lesson from, a good chance to learn about dealing with adversity.
Coaching in the kitchen
Rost stated the Lightning were staying overnight in the Calgary area in preparation for their next road game Oct. 14 in Strathmore. He decided to get the team into another learning environment, but a little bit different place: the kitchen.
Rost said the team attended a team building exercise at a Calgary restaurant, where players were divided up with kitchen experts, given instructions and recipes and let loose.
Rost said the coaching staff wanted to do something different and the players really responded to it. “We took them out of their element,” said Rost.
Victory in Strathmore
The Stettler Lightning took their newfound kitchen skills onto the ice in Strathmore last Saturday night to slice and dice the hometown Wheatland Kings, notching a 4-2 victory and giving the Bolts an overall record of 2-6.
Rost said he knows the Stettler Lightning are a better team than what was on display in high River. He said the Lightning just need to learn to play an entire 60-minute game.
That’s what they did in Strathmore. Strathmore scored a quick goal on the Bolts, but Stettler didn’t let it get them down and by the third period the game was tied.
The Lightning battled hard, got a couple of late goals and notched the win.
Rost said the team is looking forward to some great challenges on the ice, as the Lighting begin a five-game home stand against the Red Deer Vipers (Oct. 20, 7:30), Airdrie Thunder (Oct. 21, 7:30) and Blackfalds Wranglers (Oct. 24 8 p.m.) at the rec centre.
Coach Rost is asking the community to come out and support the Stettler Lightning as they hold their annual fundraising entertainment and dinner Oct.28 at the Stettler Community Hall.
The evening will feature a top-notch meal and a hypnotist.
Funds raised from the event help cover the team’s substantial travel costs. All Stettler Lightning players have tickets to sell, and some local merchants will also have them available. Watch this space for more information.