By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent
The Stettler junior B Lightning were in tough Dec. 9 versus the top team in the league, losing a 7-2 decision to Red Deer Vipers.
Head coach Rory Rost said the Bolts, playing on the road, were quite shorthanded as far as roster went, fielding only 13 skaters and two goalies. He said the team was dealing with just about every issue you could imagine, from the flu to work commitments.
Rost said the Lightning had circled this game against league-leading Red Deer as an important one. “It would have been nice to beat them,” said the head coach Dec. 11 by phone, noting the Vipers are a mature team that moves the puck well and skates well.
Before the game, Rost said the coaching staff realized a short bench was going to hamstring Stettler but still tried to motivate the players to play smart hockey and be competitive. He said staying disciplined and staying out of the penalty box could keep the score close.
Early in the third period it was 4-2 and the Lightning had a partial breakaway but the Bolt puckhandler was slashed and no penalty call was made.
In fact, the whistles blew fast and furious, mostly at the Stettler Lightning that night. The Bolts had four power plays while Red Deer had eight.
Rost said he felt the Lightning played a good game despite the lopsided score. “Happy with the effort,” he said.
The Lightning’s two goals included a battle won at the blue line that ended in a score, plus a successful power play.
Rost said the Lightning had very good goaltending that night, as the netminders faced over 60 shots, an exhausting night for any goaltender.