The Stettler Lightning secured the victory in extra time in Big Valley on Saturday, picking up a 3-2 overtime win over the Ponoka Stampeders.
This was the second match-up of the regular season between the HJHL North Division rivals, after Ponoka beat the Bolts 6-4 on November 15th.
Stettler Head Coach Rory Rost says the team played well considering they had a couple of weeks off. He adds he felt that the squad’s timing was a bit off, and that the team’s legs needed to get going after having time off for the holidays.
“We weren’t picking corners, we missed a few good opportunities and made it a lot closer than maybe we should have, but I’ll give Ponoka credit, they’re a hardworking team. From now until the end of the year, they’re gonna surprise some teams in the league.”
“It took us awhile to get going, we actually outshot Ponoka 54 to 37 or something like that, and they were up 2-0 halfway through the third before we scored a couple of goals and took it to overtime. Then about two and a half minutes in we scored an overtime goal to win it.”
After starting the third period down 2-0, Dylan Houston made it 2-1 8:28 into the frame, before Bryce Cornelissen tied it up with 6:55 remaining. Houston would score his second goal of the night in overtime, while goaltender Jordan McCallum stopped 35 shots for the win.
Looking ahead, Stettler currently sit fourth in the North Division, three points behind Mountainview with a game in hand. The Lightning have ten games remaining, which Coach Rost feels will result in a horse race for third, fourth and fifth between Stettler, Blackfalds and Mountainview.
After practices on Monday and Wednesday to work on conditioning, the Lightning head to Ponoka on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. for a rematch with the Stampeders. Then it’s right back to it on Sunday as the Bolts play in Blackfalds at 3:30 p.m. as they look to move up the North Division standings.
Finally, two Lightning players were selected to play in the HJHL All-Star game in Okotoks on Sunday. Coach Rost says forwards Dylan Houston and Kieran Rost played very well, as the North lost 7-6 in a shootout to the South Division All-Stars. Despite this, he says both players represented Stettler well and did the community proud.