Elks stamp out home team

Meadow Lake Stampeders suffered a 4-1 loss Saturday evening in the first game of their A Provincials best-of-three opening series with the Shellbrook Elks. At left, Stamps newcomer Sheldon Williamson waits for a rebound in front of the Shellbrook net.

Sandwiched between uneventful first and third periods lay the Meadow Lake Stampeders’ downfall in opening round Senior A provincial action.

by Phil Ambroziak

Squaring off against the Shellbrook Elks the Stamps hoped to continue their winning ways – nine straight wins in league play – but ultimately lost the Jan. 28 home game 4-1 with all goals scored during the second period.

Early in the second period, Shellbrook scored twice to lead 2-0 with the Stamps getting on the scoreboard shortly thereafter when Cole Fern scored from in close against Shellbrook netminder Kelly Guard who turned aside several scoring opportunities for Meadow Lake throughout the game.

“This was definitely not the outcome we wanted,” remarked Stamps head coach Ian Turberfield following the game. “The first and third periods were okay, but that mental lapse we had during the second was what did it to us. Unless you shut them (Shellbrook) down at the start, it’s tough to beat a team of that calibre.”

Turberfield went on to comment on the Stamps’ efforts to improve their chances by adding players from other teams for the provincials.

“We have brought in nine new guys, so getting that proper chemistry and getting the team to gel correctly could take time,” he said. “In the third period I did switch the lines up a bit. Hopefully we can win down there and come back here for game three.”

Meadow Lake bolstered their roster by including seven players from their rival St. Walburg Eagles and two from the Paradise Hill Hawks.

Reiterating his optimism, Turberfield summed up Saturday’s game as exciting, fast-paced hockey.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” he said. “This was a good test for us.”

Shawn Kerber, Shellbrook’s team manager, was pleased with the performance given by his team, stating the key to their victory was good defence.

“Our defence saved us,” Kerber said. “The game was a little slow to start – it was a slow first period, but once we got our legs going, the opportunities were just there.”

Kerber described the team’s experience in Meadow Lake as a positive one, praising the excitement exhibited by the more than 800 fans in attendance. He also commended the Stamps for a valiant effort.

“Looking at their line-up, there is a lot of talent there,” he noted. “For game two we are going to have to keep the same pace we had tonight. We have the momentum now, we just have to find more ways of getting the puck into the net and hopefully we can come up with another win.”

Game two of the best of three series is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 3 in Shellbrook. If necessary, the deciding game three will be held in Meadow Lake Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8:30 p.m. If no game three is required, Meadow Lake will host St. Walburg in North Saskatchewan River Hockey League play. On Sunday, Feb. 4 Meadow Lake will be on the road to play the Spiritwood Timberwolves.

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