Stamps come from behind to win 4-3

By Terry Villeneuve

The hottest team in the league – the Meadow Lake Stampeders – crawled out from a three-goal deficit on Saturday night to defeat the Maidstone Jets in a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory on home ice.

The win increases the Stamps unbeaten streak to seven games in the North Saskatchewan River Hockey League and now puts them one point back of the league-leading St. Walburg Eagles.

“It was a big character win for us tonight,” said Calvin Fiddler of the Stamps who was the hero, scoring the big overtime goal. “Being down 3-0 and then come back and score four straight goals and win it – that just says a lot about this team.”

The deciding goal came late in the five-minute, sudden-death overtime period when the two clubs were playing four skaters a side.

After both teams had several in-close chances, Meadow Lake’s Ashton McIntyre chased a rolling puck into the Maidstone zone, out-muscled one of their defenders to gain control of the puck, and then lifted it toward the net where a speeding Calvin Fiddler caught the pass, and even with the Maidstone player draped all over him, side-stepped the goalie at the crease and tucked the puck into the open net. Afterwards, Fiddler noted the pass was right on the money.

“Ashton made an unbelievable pass for the overtime goal – if he doesn’t make that pass, I don’t score that goal,” Fiddler said.

Early in the first period, after some quick passing in the neutral zone, Maidstone opened the scoring when one of their players fired a quick shot from the hash marks that beat Stamps netminder Rick Dallyn cleanly. It was Maidstone’s first shot on net.

Then, a couple minutes later, the visitors made it 2-0 on the powerplay with Stamps Ray Esau sitting out. Maidstone had the opportunity to go up by another goal, when given a penalty shot, but Dallyn stood tall in making the save and bring life to his team. Unfortunately however, with Meadow Lake’s Darren Caron in the penalty box, Maidstone scored their second powerplay goal of the game to make it a 3-0 game.

Meadow Lake had their chances, but couldn’t catch a break until Maidstone was assessed a penalty. With the man-advantage, Stamps Calvin Fiddler scored his
first of two in the contest after he fired a high shot from the point that found its way into the net for a 3-1 score.

Second period action saw Stamps newcomer Eric Calibaba bang home Meadow Lake’s second goal to bring the team within one, 3-2. It was an entertaining second period with both teams having good scoring opportunities.

In the third Meadow Lake kept buzzing around the opposing zone and then off a faceoff in Maidstone’s zone, Dustin Gorst drew the puck back cleanly to Devon Michel, who wasted no time in sending a hard low slapshot that beat the Maidstone netminder to tie the game 3-3 and send the crowd of about 500 people into a frenzy.

The slow start to the game shouldn’t have happened, Dallyn said following the game.

“We came out flat… including me,” he said. “I don’t know if we gave them too much respect or what, but I can’t put a finger on it. They’ve got some highly skilled forwards and some highly skilled defensemen. We missed some of our assignments early on where each player has a job to do out there and maybe we were slow getting there and not mentally sharp. When you’re not ready for the game, you’re going to take penalties too.”

A late first period penalty taken by Maidstone played in Meadow Lake’s favour as the team was able to regroup in between periods and open the second on the powerplay.

“When we skate (hard) we create good scoring opportunities,” said Dallyn. “And even though we didn’t score on that powerplay, we came close. The last 40 minutes everyone tried as hard as they could and made good plays as a result of that hard work.”

Although some key veterans were absent from the game Saturday night, including Stamps top point-getter Cole Fern and captain Logan Gorst, Fiddler said his teammates came up big.

“We’re trying to move up into first place, so this was a big win for us. With Cole (Fern) and Logan (Gorst) out of the lineup, other guys had to step up their game and they did,” he said. “Tonight I played with Ashton McIntyre and Darren Caron – they’re both smart hockey players and we work well together.”

Fiddler also noted he’s playing a bit different than from the start of the year.

“I started the season slow, and put big expectations on myself,” he admitted. “Now I just come to the game and have fun. There’s less pressure that way.”

Next action for the Stamps is this coming Saturday when they take on the lowly Paradise Hill Hawks. Game time is 8:30 p.m.

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