Since rattling off an 11-game winning streak, the Stettler Lightning have lost three of their past four games in the Heritage Junior Hockey League.
One night after spanking the winless Ponoka Stampeders 8-4 at home Friday, the Lightning fell 8-2 to the host Coaldale Copperheads.
Stettler also lost a 5-3 decision to the Blackfalds Wranglers at home last Tuesday.
Lightning coach and general manager Doug Smith said Saturday’s six-goal defeat at Coaldale could even have been worse.
“Coaldale had four goals in the first period before we set in as a team,” he said. “We weren’t clicking as a team.”
“Our goalie covered up our mistakes. It could have been a lot worse.”
Adam Ternes scored a goal and assisted on the other Stettler goal, which came from his twin Scott.
Jeff Skaley made 31 saves for the Lightning, who historically have had their struggles in Coaldale.
“That is a rink that we never had played well in,” Smith said. “The corners are a lot sharper than we’re used to.”
On Friday, the Lightning (12-6) handed the Ponoka its 15th loss in as many games this season.
It was a breakthrough game for veteran Reese Anheliger, who scored three goals and two assists.
Adam Ternes, Derek Muhlbach and Dylan Houston each added a goal and had two assists. Dylan Muhlbach scored a goal and set up another. Wyat Haustein had the other Stettler goal and Simon Thieleman stopped 27 shots.
“For the first part, we played more of an individualistic game,” Smith said. “We didn’t play a team game.
“But we got back to our system, getting the puck to the net and wearing them down.”
Three nights earlier, Blackfalds needed an empty-net goal to solidify its win at Stettler in a battle of North Division heavyweights.
Houston tallied twice for Stettler. Adam Ternes had the other Lightning goal and Wyat Haustein picked up two assists.
Thieleman blocked 37 shots.
The Lightning remain two points ahead of the Wranglers (11-5) atop the North.
“We met our goal,” Smith said of the first two months of the season. “Now we have to make a stand against the top teams. Every win and every loss is big.”
The Lightning’s next game is this Saturday in Cochrane.
“I hope we have a good turnaround on the road,” Smith said. “We’ll make some adjustments this week and get set to get back in the groove.”