Lightning, Vipers tied in playoff series

A slippery puck - Brett Wold and Reese Anheliger of the Lightning seeking an opportunity to score against the Red Deer Vipers in the first period of the second game of the playoff series on Sunday

A slippery puck - Brett Wold and Reese Anheliger of the Lightning seeking an opportunity to score against the Red Deer Vipers in the first period of the second game of the playoff series on Sunday

Stettler Lightning have turned out to be a good road team this year and they continued the trend to upset the Red Deer Vipers in this year’s first game of the playoff series by winning 5-4 in overtime in Red Deer, but they dropped the home game with score of 6-2.

Despite falling behind in the first minute of the opening game of the series in Red Deer on Saturday, Feb. 19, a determined Lightning offense hit back, squeezing two goals from Myles Rindal and Jacob Schwarzenberger within a minute to take an early 2-1 lead in the first quarter.

Captain Brett Wold opened the lead to 3-1 in early second period but the Vipers responded with two goals to tie the score 3-3 at the end of the second period.

When the Vipers scored only 68 seconds from time, they thought they had got the first game but the Lightning had other plans.

Mitch Finkbiner scored 15 seconds after the Viper’s goal, taking the game to overtime. Jacob Scwarzenberger once again found the back of the net in the 9th minute of the overtime and the Lightning returned to Stettler with a 1-0 lead in the series.

Yet, Sunday night was a different story. After a rock solid defense in the first period which ended scoreless, the Lightning dropped their guard to see four unanswered goals in their net in the second period.

The effort to recover from the loss was too little too late: Steve Blacklock and Brett Oulette scored one each but Vipers responded ending the second game with 6-2 win.

“We worked well through their weaknesses on Saturday night in Red Deer, we had a good overtime but when we came back we fell flat,” said Lightning head coach Doug Smith.

“We just could not seem to find ourselves for whatever reason, I don’t know.”

“We looked like the tired side on Sunday night at home like they did in Red Deer on Saturday,” Smith said.

Still sounding confident, coach Smith said he would be introducing a few new line-up combinations for the next game on Saturday, Feb. 26 in Red Deer.

With Tyson Glazier possibly returning to the lineup after his recovery from his shoulder injury, Smith said he would be able to move a few players in certain combinations to produce a more effective offense.

The fourth game of the series will be played in Stettler on Sunday, Feb. 27.