Even though the Blackfalds Wranglers scored the first goal in the Sunday, Sept. 18 exhibition game, the Lightning came back with a vengeance to win 4-2.
Blackfalds has traditionally been one of the more challenging teams for the Lightning to score a win against, so the decisive victory was bolstering for both players and fans alike after a string of losses.
Mark Sylvester tied up the game in the first with a goal, and the Lightning pulled ahead a short time later with a goal from Kieran Rost, ending the first period 2-1.
Early in the second, the Wranglers tied up the game, but before the buzzer signalled the end of the period, Dylan Houston had put Stettler ahead 3-2. With a final closing goal by Mark Bengert in the third, and defence staying on top of their game, the Lightning were able to shut out the Wranglers to win 4-2.
“Teams are still not presenting their final lineups,” Doug Smith, general manager of the team, said. “Blackfalds is a team that is perennially near the top of the league, but like us they’re still figuring out their roster.”
The Lightning played their final exhibition game in Blackfalds on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Scores were not available by press time. The home opener of the regular season is this Friday, Sept. 23 against Mountainview.
“Mountainview is a really good test to see where we are,” Smith noted. “But coaching feels our players are meshing together.”
He noted that the regular season will be where the break-out players of the exhibition series, like Sylvester, will be tested.
“The opposition knows he’s the guy to watch, so it will be a test for him and the others as they try to box him in,” Smith said.
Tight budget for Lightning club
The Stettler Lightning club’s annual general meeting (AGM) was held this past Wednesday, Sept. 14 in Stettler. General Manager Doug Smith was acclaimed as president, replacing former president Byron Geddes, who did not run for the position this year. Krystal Stoutenberg stepped into the treasurer position, replacing John Morrison, who retired from the board at the end of last season. Newcomer Neil McCallum was acclaimed as vice-president, and Stacey Lavallie remained as secretary.
Geddes remains on the board as a member. Smith added that the club is still looking for more people to join the board.
Funds from the club’s turn at the charity casino a few years ago was able to absorb the roughly $10,000 deficit from last season, but the depletion of the account has left things tight for this coming year, Smith said.
“It’s going to be tight, but then, it always is,” he said. “Our fundraising goal for this year is $75,000.”
Some of the $75,000 ends up being recouped through player fees, ticket sales, 50/50 sales and other game- related fundraisers, leaving about $40,000 to be raised through sponsorships.