The Stettler Imperials dominating performance at home continues.
In a rematch of the East Central Men’s Hockey League championship from last spring, Stettler hosted the rescheduled game against the Irma Aces on Dec. 23.
The game was orignally scheduled for early November, but had been rescheduled due to bad weather.
Performing the ceremonial puck drop to open the game were Stettler Regional Fire Department member Justin Tanner and recent Grey Cup winner Theren Churchill.
The 50-50 draw for the evening was being run by, and in support of, the Stettler Regional Fire Department.
Once the game started for real, the Imperials came out swinging.
The Imperials drew first-blood with a goal by Brett Mulbach under three minutes into the game.
Kieran Rost followed that goal with one of his own around the 10-minute mark of the first period.
Mulbach, however, wasn’t sitting back; he marked another, scoring a power-play goal with under two minutes left of the period.
By the time the dust settled at the end of the first period, the Imperials were up 3-0 and shots were 11-8 also in favour of the Imperials.
The second period started much the way the second ended off; Imperial Devan Shanks found the back of the net himself just over two minutes into the second period.
Irma answered back around five minutes into period, with Aces captain Ross Herzog notching the lone team goal of the evening on the power-play.
Stettler’s Ethan Rost found the back of the net himself on the power-play with just under four minutes left in the second.
When the final seconds of the second period wound down, the Imperials continued to lead with a score of 5-1, with shots pretty much even at 26-25, Stettler with a slight edge.
Both teams opened the third playing defensive hockey. While each side managed to draw, and kill off, penalties, the first half of the period seemed as if the Irma Aces had at least stopped the bleeding, if not being able to turn on the offence.
Just before the half-way mark in the third, the Stettler offence found their feet again with Kieran Rost finding the back of the net.
Each team took, and killed off, a few more penalties before the end of the third, but that didn’t stop JJ Fournier from scoring on the power-play with just under five minutes left on the clock.
When the third period ended, the Stettler Imperials had won their fifth game of the season, and third in a row, with a score of 7-1, with shots 42-30 also in favour of Stettler.
Stettler’s defensive play was solid, backed by goalie Jordan McCallum who stopped 29 of 30 shots.
The win moves Stettler (5-2-0) to number four in the league, behind only the Oyen Eagles (8-0-0), Provost Combines (6-2-0), and Sedgewick Sabres (6-2-0).
Stettler Imperials are back in action, at home, on Jan. 6, 2023, when they host Provost.
Tickets are available at the Stettler Independent, other business in the community, and at the gate.