Goaltending, power play the key to Stamps 2-0 start

Stamps goalie Travis Harrington makes a crucial save midway through the third period against the Turtleford Tigers Nov. 12.

By Mac Christie

The Meadow Lake Senior Stampeders won their home opener Nov. 12, hanging on for a 5-4 win over the Turtleford Tigers at the Meadow Lake Arena.

The Stamps were coming off a 9-2 romp of the Paradise Hill Hawks, and coach Ian Turberfield said the team looked a little sluggish at times against Turtleford.

“They (Paradise Hill) are young team trying to build for the future,” he said. “I thought tonight was definitely more of a test for us. Turtleford is a good team.”

The sluggishness was evident early in the game as the teams traded penalties in the early going, before Turtleford took a 1-0 lead on a tip past Stamps’ goalie Travis Harrington halfway through the first period.

The Stamps pressed for the equalizer on the power play shortly after, but gave the puck away at the blue line, forcing Harrington to come up with another save on a partial break.

Meadow Lake succeeded in tying the score late in the period when Jordon Oystrick fired a wrist shot past the Turtleford goalie, after a strong forecheck by linemate Ray Esau.

Early in the second period Turtleford made it 2-1 on the power play, wiring a slap shot past a screened Harrington.

Midway through the period the Stamps were able to tie the score again, when Dustin Gorst fired a rebound home to make it 2-2.

Less than five minutes later the Stamps took their first lead of the game, when new import player Cole Fern stepped off the half wall and snapped a shot top-shelf on the power play.

The lead was short-lived as Turtleford struck back with four minutes left in the game to make it 3-3.

In the third Fern struck again on a similar play, taking a pass from Calvin Fiddler before burying a shot off the post.

Shortly after, Fiddler put the Stamps up by two, taking a drop pass in the slot from a rushing Steve Spencer and snapping the puck into the net.

Turtleford made it a one-goal game with three minutes remaining, and pulled their goalie for the equalizer, but the Stamps were able to hold them off for the win.

Harrington said it’s nice to start off the year with two wins.

“It’s nice to get that early in the year,” he said. “I thought the guys battled hard, especially in our own end.”

Harrington added he’s getting back in the groove, noting it’s been two years since he’s played for the Stampeders.

“I have to go into games with the mentality that the pace is going to be faster,” he explained. “I have to make sure that I do everything I can to keep it out until the timing comes around.”

Turberfield noted the team has worked on its power play this year, something that paid off against Turtleford, with Fern scoring twice on the man advantage.

Fiddler, who plays on the power play with his linemates Fern and Darren Caron, said the players already have some familiarity.

“I played last year with Darren and I played junior with Fern in La Ronge, so I know how he plays,” he said. “So it’s easy to play with them out there.”

The Stamps were playing without defenceman and team captain Logan Gorst, who broke his thumb against Paradise Hill.

Gorst said he expects to be out at least six weeks, and may have to get a pin put in this week.

“It’s the first game I’ve missed in quite a while,” he said, “It’s tough.”

Turberfield noted it might be a blessing in disguise that the injuries are happening early in the season.

“I’d rather see this happen now, rather than later in the year,” he explained. “As long as we stay healthy in the second half, that’s what’s important.”

The Stampeders will face the St. Walburg Eagles Nov. 18, before playing the Edam Three Stars Nov. 19 at home.

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