Lightning strike at home

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In the right spot - Dylan Muhlbach (19) of the Stettler Lightning stakes out his territory in front of the Ponoka Stampeders’ net during the Lightning’s 8-1 win in their home-opener Friday night at the Stettler Recreation Centre.

JOHN MACNEIL

Independent editor

The Stettler Lightning feasted on home-cooking during Thanksgiving weekend and harvested a pair of Heritage Junior Hockey League victories.

In their home-opener Friday, the Lightning scored four goals in each of the second and third periods en route to an 8-1 rout of the Ponoka Stampeders.

Stettler improved its record to 4-2 with a 6-0 trouncing of the High River Flyers on Saturday night at Stettler Recreation Centre.

“I thought Saturday was probably our most-complete effort that we’ve had in quite a while,” said Stettler coach and GM Doug Smith. “All the systems seemed to work and everyone was buying into that system. You could just see everybody feeding off everybody else.”

“We gave up 30 shots, but at the same time, there was only four or five that were really good scoring opportunities. The rest, we kept to the outside fairly well.”

Simon Thieleman posted the shutout as Stettler defeated High River for the second time this season.

“Both goalies played well both games,” Smith said of Thieleman and newcomer Steven Altman, who was between the pipes Friday to record his first Lightning victory.

“In Saturday’s game, we really kept our cool when things were kind of deteriorating late in the game. We could have joined in with (the Flyers) if we wanted, but we just chose to play a little more disciplined and not lose guys for the next game for no good reason.”

The Lightning, however, lost defenceman Trevor Wooden for other reasons. He suffered a broken wrist in the first period Saturday.

“He went into the boards and got his wrist jammed,” Smith said. “He’s got a crack in it, so he’ll be out for four to six weeks, anyway.”

“He had just come back after a year of not playing hockey and was just starting to round into form. So we’ll have to start activating some of our other D-men for the next few weeks, and go from there.”

Landon Potter scored two goals in Saturday’s shutout win and singles went to Gavin Brandl, Derek Muhlbach, Reese Anheliger and Mitch Finkbiner.

In Friday’s game, the Lightning fired 64 shots at Ponoka goaltender Logan Stebner, who stopped all 18 shots he faced in the opening period.

Stettler got on the board at 1:50 of the second period when rookie Lyle Wooden backhanded the puck past Stebner after taking a headsup corner pass from Tyler Bissett.

Shayne Liukkonen, with a shorthanded tally, and Luca Bozzetto scored 53 seconds apart and Jake Schwarzenberger added a power-play goal late in the second period to make it 4-0.

Liukkonen scored again in the third period, as did Brandl, Kyler O’Connor and Dylan Muhlbach.

The lone scorer for Ponoka (0-5) was Cole Pritchard, who connected while shorthanded four minutes into the final period.

Glazier named captain

In a team vote last week, the Lightning players selected third-year forward Tyson Glazier of Coronation as the captain. The assistants are Finkbiner, Brett Ouellette and Steve Blacklock.

“It was pretty unanimous that Tyson Glazier was going to be wearing the C for us this year, and Mitch and Brett and Steve are all guys that have been here for three or four years, so the letters are well-represented,” Smith said.

Glazier was surprised when he arrived at the rink Friday night and his jersey was later stitched with a C, in place of an A.

“It makes me feel good that the guys have that much respect for me and that they want me to lead their team,” Glazier said. “It’s a pretty big honour.”

“It gave me a bit of a jump in my step, knowing that the guys thought that highly of me.”

Two-game weekend

This weekend, the Lightning visit the Mountainview Colts (2-4) on Friday night in Didsbury before hosting the unbeaten Cochrane Generals on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“Friday is a divisional game, so they’re all going to mean a lot,” Smith said. “You’ve got to make sure you get as many points as you can from the teams in your own division.”

“Cochrane is 5-0 so far, so they’ve got another solid hockey team this year. Saturday’s game will be another benchmark for us, to see if we’ve joined the elite class, or if we’re just a step below that.”

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