The floundering Stettler Imperials were grounded by the Hughenden Jets on Jan. 20.
Despite a goal early in the first period by Ethan Rost, and outshooting the Jets by a wide margin, the Imperials’ special-teams were unable to capitalize on the many of the manned-advantage opportunities and the penalty-kill was perforated with goals on all four opportunities the Jets had.
Rost opened scoring for the Imperials, with his ninth of the season, at the 12:42 mark in the first period. Just under five minutes later, the Jets retaliated with a short-handed marker by Kelly Piecharka, his first of the season.
Stettler picked up a pair of penalties in the first period. Austin Stahlberg went off for interference at the 9:21 mark, and Grant Mailer went off at 1:04 for roughing.
The Jets were not innocent either, racking up six minutes in penalties. Ryley Johnson called for tripping at 1:141, Piecharka went off for roughing at 1:04, and Brennan Anholt went off for tripping at the same time.
Ending the first period, the score was 1-1, with shots favouring Stettler 13-10.
Hughenden capitalized on a pair of Stettler miss-steps early in the second period, with Johnson finding the back of the net twice in under a minute on the manned advantage. Johnson’s first goal was at 14:30, and the next at 13:48; however, Stettler’s DJ Kistner, with his second of the season, managed to gain some ground at 13:36 with a short-handed goal.
Hughenden kept up the pressure through the rest of the period, with Anholt scoring even strength at 9:38 and Braden Crone connecting with the back of the net with 53 seconds left of the period.
In total, 11 penalties worth 44-minutes were assesses to the two teams in the second period, including a 10-minute game misconduct assessed to both Brett Muhlbach of Stettler and Keithen Tuftin of Hughenden.
At the end of the second, Hughenden was up 5-2, with Stettler again out-shooting Hughenden 12-7.
Hughenden lengthened their lead less than a minute into the third period with a goal by Brady Johnson on the power play. Stettler’s defence got their feet under them and stopped any further scoring, and forward JJ Fournier answered back at the 17:12 mark. Ethan Rost then scored on the power play with just under 10 minutes left in the third, but that is where the Imperials comeback faltered.
In the third period, 17 penalties were assessed to the two teams worth 74 minutes total. Of the 17, nine of the penalties went to Hughenden.
Final score for the game was 6-4 Hughenden, with shots 37-29 in favour of Stettler. Hughenden capitalized on all four of their power play opportunities, while Stettler capitilized on one of 11.
The Imperials brought the skid to a stop the when they hit the road and took on the Coronation Royals in Castor on Jan. 27, before losing to the Jets again on Jan. 28.
On Feb.4, the Imperials are back on the road against the Irma Aces before hosting the Delburne Outlaws Feb. 10.