By Stu Salkeld The Stettler Independent
The Stettler Lightning had a productive weekend on the road and at their home-away-from-home Big Valley, going 1-1 since Nov. 24.
The Bolts started their road trip last Friday afternoon, heading to Cochrane, a team they’ve already beaten twice this season, including pre-season. The result was not as hoped, as Cochrane came out on top 6-3.
Head coach Rory Rost said Stettler headed into that game with a good roster and lots of confidence and had heard that Cochrane plays better at home than on the road.
The Bolts went on a tear scoring goals, and Rost said Stettler had plenty of momentum but then penalty problems showed up. The head coach said Stettler suffered from some weak penalty calls, things that had been going on for the entire game, but suddenly were penalties in the third period.
Cochrane scored a few power play goals and that was it.
Rost said some might think the game was pretty rough, but most of it boiled down to some grudges that surfaced.
The head coach said things went much better Saturday night at Stettler’s second home venue, Big Valley, as the Bolts beat Okotoks 4-3 in overtime.
Considered one of the top teams in the south, the game was very close right up until the end of the third period. One thing that helped Stettler is that Okotoks in essence scored on themselves and had penalty problems on top of that.
“It was a great win,” said Rost by phone Nov. 27. “The boys were very happy.”
The last time Stettler played in Big Valley, the Bolts came away with a shootout win, so the home-away-from-home is lucky. “So we’re kind of laughing that maybe we should play all our home games in Big Valley,” said the head coach.
Rost said it was a clean game until the third period when Okotoks tried to intimidate Stettler, but the Lightning didn’t back down. Beating a tough team like Okotoks was a great feeling, “probably our biggest win of the season,” added Rost.