The Stettler Imperials have jumped into third place in the East Central Senior Hockey League after a marching over rivals the Provost Combines on Jan. 6.
Despite out-shooting the Imperials 39 to 38, the Combines were just unable to solve the stellar goal-tending of Imperial starter Jordan MacCallum who stopped all but two shots on goal.
Both teams got on the board in the first period, with Stettler’s Erik Rost striking first at 14:07 left in the period with a power-play goal. Ethan Rost notched Stettler’s second goal with both teams at even strength less than three minutes later at 11:18.
Just over a minute later, Carter Trenberry struck back for Provost; then Brady Thudium tied it up at the 7:20 mark with a power-play marker. Penalties in the first period were few, with Provost’s Damien Chopek taking a slashing call at 14:41, Stettler’s Cody Wright drawing an interference penalty at 9:17 and Brett Mulbach taking a roughing call at 5:23.
The teams ended the first period tied at two, with Provost holding a significant 17-7 edge in shots.
When the teams hit the ice in the second period, there was plenty of banging and crashing to start, but no penalties were levied.
Stettler’s Brenden Tucker notched the team’s third goal of the night just under three minutes into the period.
Just past the half-way mark in the second period frustrations mounted and tempers flared resulting in a fight that left helmets, gloves and sticks littering the ice in one corner of the Provost end.
Several Provost and Stettler players were sent to the penalty box or to the locker room.
For Provost, Colin Scherger received a 10-minutes game misconduct and a two-minute roughing penalty, Tye Montgomery received a two-minute rough penalty, Blake Wildeman received a 10-minute game misconduct for fighting, and a five-minute penalty for fighting, Brady Thudium and Nathan Heck were each assessed two minutes for roughing.
For Stettler, Brenden Tucker received a two-minute penalty for roughing, two minutes for charging, and a 10-minute game misconduct. Brooker Blundon received a five-minute penalty for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct. Casey Wright, D.J. Kistner, and Lowen Cassidy also each headed to the penalty box for two-minutes for roughing.
Once the referees got the penalties figured out, the game resumed without much further fanfare for the next several minutes. However, at the 5:41 left mark in the second period, things changed; Stettler unleashed a scoring frenzy.
Ethan Rost scored even strength at 5:41; followed less than 30 seconds later with a goal by Jacob Schwarzenberger at 4:53. Another 25 seconds later, Devan Shanks put the puck past Provost starter Ty McMann. Erik Rost then scored at the 4:13 mark of the period. At this point McMann’s night was over, replaced by Provost backup Austin Deck.
Unfortunately for Provost, Deck was able to slow, but not stop, the bleeding. Schwarzenberger scored his second of the period on the power-play with 29 seconds left of the period after Dylan Deck was sent off for a time out with a roughing call at 1:37.
The only other penalty in the period was one to Imperial Devan Shanks, for unsportsmanlike conduct at the 2:34 mark. It was a penalty that Stettler managed to kill off. At the end of the period, thanks to Stettler’s offensive explosion, the score was 8-2 Stettler, with Provost still holding a slight edge in shots 31-30.
Heading into the third period, Ethan Rost scored his third of the night at the 15:40 mark and Quade Cassidy finished off scoring with a power play goal at 2:34.
Stettler and Provost both spent a lot of time in the penalty box in the third period. Each team had racked up 24 minutes worth of penalties assessed in the period thanks to another fight in the later-half of the period.
The final score for the game was 10-2 for Stettler, and the team’s fourth win in a row. Total shots were 39-38 in favour of Provost. As for penalties, Stettler picked up 67 minutes worth during the game and Provost 61.
Stettler is back in action on Jan. 13 when they hit the road for a road game against the number-one ranked Oyen Eagles. The team then returns home on Jan. 15 for a rescheduled matinee game against the number-two ranked Sedgewick Sabres.