By Emily Jaycox
For the Stettler Independent
The Stettler Lightning have had a rough start to their season with a 1-5 record, landing them in sixth place in the Northern Division standings.
The Lightning has worked with a short roster due to injuries and away games, but are ready for some payback at their home game against the Lomond Lakers Oct. 13.
The team lost 4-6 against the High River Flyers Oct. 5, 4-6 against the Cochrane Generals Oct. 6, and 2-3 against the Ponoka Stampeders Oct. 10.
“Hopefully we’ve saved up our frustration for losing for this one game” said Doug Smith, manager.
The Lightning lost four veteran players due to injuries in their pre-season games.
Two of those players are now back, one has left to play for Lacombe, and another will be out for another month recovering from a broken jaw.
One players, No. 22 Euan Hanton, is currently suspended.
While the team has been short-staffed, the rookies have stepped up their game, with three young players currently at the top for points-per-game.
No. 10 Matt Sylvester has had three goals and three assists in two games, making him the top-scorer at 3.0 points-per-game.
No. 15 Jonathan Fournier comes in next at 1.4 and then No. 20 Brendan Tucker at 1.2.
“We’ve got a number of rookies and they’ve actually exceeded my expectations so far this year,” said Head Coach Rory Rost.
The team’s two rookie goaltenders are also doing well, says Rost.
No. 1 Davin Navistaad has 138 saves and No. 35 Dalton Beck has 100.
“I was very happy with the goaltending at the last game in Ponoka.”
Rost hopes that with these next three home games, the team will have a deeper lineup and put up some wins.
“We understood going into this year, similar as last year, that a lot of our kids have work and school commitments which come first.”
The team averaged only 10 to 12 players on away games, versus 17 or 18 at the last home game.
Rost says the Lighting are missing three or four of their key vets on a regular basis, which puts more pressure on the vets who are there.
If the vets can up their game and the team’s defence tightens up, Rost is confident the Lightning can get back on the scoreboard.
“It can turn around fairly quick,” he said, adding two or three wins is all the team needs to be where they want in the league standings.