The Stettler Legion Blues opened their midget AA hockey pre-season this past weekend with a pair of losses.
Stettler fell 5-1 in Olds on Saturday and 6-4 to Ponoka at home Sunday.
“We struggled with the new head-contact rule this weekend, with seven penalties for 28 of the total 44 minutes for Saturday, and 11 head contact penalties for 26 of the total 36 minutes in penalties for Sunday,” said Stettler coach Scott Schell.
“On the positive side, we improved from Saturday’s game to Sunday’s game.”
Blues defenseman Steven Fletcher of Castor scored all four Stettler goals in a standout performance Sunday.
“Steven Fletcher is our lone returning defenseman this year and will be leaned on heavily to contribute both offensively and defensively,” Schell said. “The three-year vet will be moving into more of a leadership role this season, and will be looked at to provide a stabilizing force on the blue-line.”
Rookie forward Jacob Hamel was the lone Stettler scorer in the Olds game.
“We are still in the process of getting our legs under us, and it’s really evident that the pace of the game is hard to maintain with just 12 skaters — we have 13 skaters total — but that will come,” Schell said.
“I’m really pleased that regardless of the new focus on head contact, the boys didn’t change their game and stayed aggressive. We just have to learn what constitutes a good hit, because a good 90 per cent of the (referee) calls this weekend would have been a good clean hit last year.”
In its lone game this coming weekend, Stettler travels to Rocky Mountain House on Saturday.
The next home game for Stettler is Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. against Kneehill.