Stettler Midget C Storm succumbed to a powerful comeback effort by Ponoka’s Midget B Wespro Stampeders in the Tier 4 league championship game last Thursday, March 19, which they lost with a score of 7-6 in the last 30 seconds.
The Ponoka side had won the first game of the best-of-three series in Stettler but the Storm won the second game in Ponoka, leaving the decisive final game to be played in Stettler.
The first period of the game ended with a 1-0 lead for the hosts with Scott Verhoeven having opened the scoring.
Early in the second, the Storm scored three more in quick succession, two by Ryan Mielke and another one by Verhoeven, making it to a four-point cushion as the clock ticked past the mid-point of the second period, with Ponoka fans wondering whether they drove all the way there to see a resounding defeat.
Just into the last five minutes of the second period, however, Ponoka scored, a goal that became something of a magic wand: Stampeders were fired up by their first point and scored four more, two of them within a matter of 60 seconds in the third, leaving the hosts Storm in a state of complete shock.
Then came the last three minutes, a true nailbiter period, in the real sense of the word: Ponoka scored again to make it 6-4 for the visitors, but a minute later Storm responded through Tristen Bryce making it 6-5. Then just 44 seconds left to the buzzer, Mielke struck once more.
Now the score was tied at six apiece, and as both benches and fans started to think that there would be overtime, but Ponoka would not let the title slip away and they scored just 33 seconds from the final buzzer sealing the final result.
There was huge jubilation by the visitors at the end of the game, fans of both teams were glad to see high class hockey from their youth and hosts were sad to have lost their opportunity to raise the championship banner.