Adversity reared its ugly head at the Airdrie Techmation Thunder Jan. 12, when the team’s seven-game winning streak came to a crashing halt in a 7-6 loss to the Mountainview Colts.
Despite battling back and earning a point for losing in a shootout, head coach Derek Stamp said he was not pleased with the effort his team put forth in the loss and its follow-up effort two days later against the Ponoka Stampeders.
“It was a disappointing effort all around – that extends to the entire weekend,” Stamp said. “We ended up with a shootout loss and a win in Ponoka, but we probably didn’t deserve either outcome.
“We weren’t the better team in either game, but it speaks to the talent this hockey team has when we can come away with three points playing as poorly as we did.”
The Thunder took three of a possible four points and remain in a tie for first in the Heritage Junior Hockey League Northern Division with the Red Deer Vipers.
Although he was happy with his team’s skillset and ability to have positive take aways from the games, Stamp said he hopes the weekend serves as a learning experience for his team.
“This is the type of adversity we’re going to see in the playoffs,” Stamp said.
“Ultimately, if we learn from it and come back, then it will definitely be worthwhile.”
The Thunder struggled out of the gate against the Colts with a 3-1 deficit in the first period.
The Colts scored a pair on Ryan Simpson in the first four minutes before the Thunder answered back with a goal of its own from Rylan Plante-Crough.Mountainview tacked on a third goal 50 seconds later to take a two-goal lead into the intermission.
“(Mountainview) came out fast, pressured our back and capitalized early to take a lead and that ultimately put some adversity on us, which is something as a coaching staff we were looking for,” Stamp said. “As a coaching staff we are extremely disappointed with the way our leaders decided to respond to it.”
The Thunder outscored the Colts 4-2 in the middle stanza with goals from Jackson Gibson, Matt Thomson, Plante-Crough and Ben Orde to tie the game up heading into the third period and took an early lead minutes into the final frame with a marker from Jacob MacDonald.
The lead didn’t last long as the Colts tied the game up with four minutes remaining and took the win, scoring the lone shootout goal to hand Airdrie its first loss since Nov. 23, 2017.
The Thunder then earned a 7-5 victory in its next game, but Stamp said his team needed to put in a better effort against the 6-17-3 Stampeders, rather than relying on being a higher ranked team than its opponents.
The Thunder won’t have much time to dwell on its disappointing weekend as it returns to action Jan. 19 for a home game against the Stettler Lightning at Ron Ebbesen Arena (8 p.m.). The team then heads on the road the next day to take on the Vipers in a battle for first in the division.