Stettler Lightning opened the regular season of the Heritage Junior B Hockey league with a 5-2 home win over Banff Academy Bears on Saturday, Oct. 3, but lost to Three Hills Thrashers 3-2 in a road game.
The Lightning looked a little uncoordinated as they started the game at the Rec Centre and lack of proper organization in defense allowed the opponent to score the first goal in the 10th minute of the first period.
Visibly more aggressive in offense in the second period, Lightning scored the equalizer in the 6th minute with Lanny Duncan sending the puck to the Banff net to an assist from Adam McDavid.
Banff again took the lead three minutes later, but it took the Lightning less than a minute to bring equality to the scoreboard as Jordan Vincent took the opportunity from an assist by Steve Blacklock to score, making it 2-2.
Three minutes from time in the second period Clayton Herzog scored his first of two goals of the night on an assist from Jeff Kohut. His second goal came in the fourth minute of the third period when he converted an assist from Robb David, putting the Lightning 4-2 ahead.
Just three minutes later, Clave Spady sealed the score with a 20 yard shot: 5-2.
In the game in Three Hills on Sunday, Lightning Clayton Herzog scored the first goal of the game in the 17th minute of the first period and Brett Muhlbach consolidated the team’s lead in the second period to 2-0 in the 19th minute of the second period.
But the Thrashers came from behind, scoring three goals within minutes of each other and winning the game 3-2.
Head coach Doug Smith said fatigue played a part in the loss as his team played two games within a space of less than 24 hours.
“It was a strange game. We were solid defensively, but still giving some chances, just single scoring opportunities.”
“In the third period we held onto the puck a little bit too long instead of getting it out to the safe area and dumping it out, we let them kind of dictate the arena,” said Smith.
“We had to take a few penalties to prevent scoring opportunities and then it comes back to haunt you,” he added referring to the power-play goals scored by the Thrashers.
“I think we were a little bit tired.”
But Smith was quite happy with Saturday’s home game, in particular with the goal tending in the first period and the defensive effort in the third.
The Lightning play two away games this weekend, first against Medicine Hat on Saturday, Oct. 9 and then versus Strathmore the next day.
The next home game is on Tuesday, Oct. 13 when the Lightning host Red Deer at 7.30 p.m at the Rec Center.