Stamps on five-game win streak

Stamps' goalie Rick Dallyn pounces on the puck in the final period of Saturday's home game against Wilkie. Meadow Lake outshot Wilkie by a 31-21 margin and went on to win the game 6-5.

By Rhonda Cooper

The Meadow Lake Stampeders played back-to-back games last weekend, squeaking out a 6-5 victory at home Saturday versus Wilkie and burying Turtleford by a 10-1 score Friday night in Turtleford.

The Stamps have now put together a five-game win streak in the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League, giving them a record of 11-2-1 strengthening their second spot standing in the league and trailing first place St. Walburg by five points.

Saturday night Wilkie opened the scoring at the 3:07 mark. But the Stamps were quick to respond when Cole Fern showed a lot of hustle to outskate a pair of Wilkie defenders, go in alone on netminder Curtis Sander and beat him high to knot the score at 1-1. Just over the half way mark of the opening frame, Wilkie pressed and pounced on a second opportunity to beat Stamps goalkeeper Rick Dallyn to go up 2-1. With 4:43 showing on the clock, Wilkie’s Tony Pernitsky was called for interference. The Stamps’ powerplay had two excellent scoring opportunities but were denied but the third time proved to be the charm as Ashton McIntyre and Darren Schwartz combined to tie the score at 2-2. Early in the second frame, both teams had excellent scoring opportunities, with one Wilkie goal disallowed because the whistle had blown. Wilkie regained the lead on a pretty set up that saw Dallyn beaten on the stick side. The score stood at 3-2 at the end of 40 minutes. The Stamps’ penalty kill was especially effective in the period, allowing Wilkie only one goal in four power play opportunities.

Starting the third short-handed, the Stamps continued to shine defensively and their powerplay was just as effective when Steven Spencer and Logan Gorst set up Tedi Hood who tied the score at 3-3. This equalizing goal seemed to put the jump back in the Stamps’ step as evidenced by the strong forechecking play of forward Ashton McIntyre, defensive work by Josh Luster on a 2-on-1 rush and a nice scoring opportunity which resulted in the Wilkie net being knocked off its pegs. With 7:49 left in the game, Wilkie was called for tripping. Just over a minute later, Meadow Lake took the lead for the very first time when Logan Gorst and Calvin Fiddler assisted on Darren Caron’s beauty of a wrist shot from inside the blue line to beat Sander.

The last five minutes of the game had the fans sitting on the edge of their seats. Another pretty goal came with 4:38 on the clock when Fiddler, pressing in the offensive zone, knocked the puck off the defenseman’s stick, skated in and netted the Stamps fifth goal to go up 5-3. A brief defensive lapse while on the powerplay allowed Wilkie to score a shorthanded goal to cut the lead to 5-4. A high sticking call against Wilkie, negated a potential goal and gave the Stamps another powerplay opportunity. Spencer and Fiddler set up McIntyre who made no mistake scoring his second powerplay goal and the team’s fourth of the night to reclaim a two-goal advantage. But Wilkie was not done as they again pressed and beat Dallyn with a deflected, tumbling puck to make it 6-5 with 1:43 remaining in the game. Wilkie pulled its goalie but it was not to be as Meadow Lake hung on to record the 6-5 victory.

“We missed Saturday’s game somewhat,” said coach Ian Turberfield. “We’ve been playing pretty good. But this Wednesday and Saturday’s games will be a test because we will be missing some key bodies.”

A more disciplined game by the Stamps as they were assessed only four minors, all in the second frame.

As for the reduction in penalty minutes, Turberfield said that was something they have been pushing hard in the second half of the season. “Sometimes when things start to sour, mouths start running and we lose our focus,” he said. “We need to keep our focus. We are the type of team that continues to get better as the season goes along.”

Earlier on Friday night the Stamps easily handled Turtleford as they led 3-0 at the end of the first period. They added one more in the second to extend their lead to 4-0 before Turtleford got on the board. But two more goals in the second and four in the third made the final 10-1.

The Stamps’ powerplay was on target scoring five goals with the man-advantage. Hood led the scoring attack with three goals, Fern had a pair, and singles went to Dustin Gorst, McIntyre, Jordan Keller ,Caron and Jordan Oystrick. Of the 18 Stamps players, 12 picked up points in the victory. The Stamps were assessed eight minutes in penalties and Turtleford nine minors, one-10 minute and a game misconduct for 28 minutes.

The Stamps closed 2011 with an 8-2 victory over the Spiritwood Timberwolves Dec. 30. The teams were tied at 1-1 at the end of 20 minutes. The Stamps netted five goals to Spiritwood’s single in the second to take a 6-2 lead into the third. The Stamps picked up two more in the final frame to secure the win. Leading the offense was Caron with three goals followed closely by Logan Gorst with two goals while McIntyre, Fiddler and Dustin Gorst had one each.

Next action is Jan. 11 when the Stamps travel too Paradise Hill and then host Maidstone, Jan 14. Both games start at 8:30 p.m.

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