Stettler Lightning suffered a 5-3 loss on home ice to Blackfalds Wranglers last Friday, Oct. 30 in a game that the home team did not look totally prepared for.
In the first period, the visiting Wranglers established a complete dominance on the ice with the Lightning finding only a few chances to take shots at the opponents’ net.
The Wranglers scored two goals in well coordinated moves in the first period and went into the second period with a 2-0 lead.
The Lightning made a big effort in the second period to bring balance to the scoreboard and did manage to score twice.
Brett Muhlbach scored in the fourth minute of the second period with a powerful unassisted shot and he was followed about a minute later by Clayton Herzog, who shook the Wranglers’ net thanks to an assist by Jeff Kohut, ending the second period 2-2.
The Wranglers returned in to the arena with their coordinated game plan in the third period and scored three consecutive goals within a minute of each other. Although the Lightning did score once again about seven minutes from regulation, it was too little, too late to save the game.
The Lightning head coach Doug Smith said many of his players were just recovering from the flu.
“I guess we ran out of gas in the third period, we sagged a little bit at the wrong times and a couple of unfortunate penalties, we did not have enough energy to stop them off efficiently.”
He said seven of his players had just returned to the practice a night before the game after their break from the team due to the flu problem.
“Even when they were to play, they were not 100 percent playing,” said Smith.
But he also agreed that the Lightning needed to improve their defensive game.
“In our end we have to become more responsible defensively, that’s for sure.”
The Lightning travel to Cochrane on Saturday, Nov. 7 before hosting Airdrie on Tuesday, Nov. 10.