The first home game in 25 days did not disappoint. The Lakeland Junior B Heat played their first game of the regular season on the floor at Imperial Oil Place in Cold Lake on May 31. The game was delayed from the scheduled 7:30 start to 8 p.m. The Heat faced the Lloydminster Xtreme, who they beat in their last meeting.
First Period Scare
The first period started with a bang for both clubs. Just under a minute in, Tarras Hodinsky sniped one past Xtreme keeper Darius Petrie. Seconds later, the Xtreme answered with a goal by their captain Braydon Cooper. Logan Blize, and Cooper added another goal each, and the Xtreme lead 3-1 with eight minutes to go in the first. Mitchell Bibeau sparked a comeback for the Heat, as he answered back a minute after the second Cooper goal. Blake Smith tallied the 3-3 goal for the Heat with four and a half minutes remaining in the first. The score would remain 3-3 headed into the locker rooms.
“We’re coming off a hot streak, and yeah, when you start a little slow like that it kind of gets everyone thinking again. We bounced back, got to get our passes going and our motion back. We’ll be fine.” #88 Justin Hodinsky said in the first period intermission.
The first period intermission comments sure seemed to be the theme that the Heat were sticking to in the second. The Heat started on a tear. Brae Howatt scored 15 seconds in, on the powerplay, to give the Heat just their second lead of the game. Cameron Zelisko found the back of the net, and made it a two goal margin three minutes into the middle frame. The Heat doubled the lead on Blake Smith’s second goal of the game at 13:17. The Xtreme potted their final goal of the night at 11:59 off the stick of Brodie McNaugton. The score sat at 6-4 halfway through the game.
The second did not end on a high note for the Xtreme, as Jaedyn Stratychuk scored a goal at 8:02 to restore the three goal lead. The scoreboard went quiet for a few minutes, until Brae Howatt sneaked in his second of the game. Justin Hodinsky closed out the scoring for the Heat with a tick over three minutes to go in the second. The score was 9-4 headed into the final period.
“If we’re going to shut them down… We just got to make sure we have our man, and not get caught looking at the ball.” #67 Eric Gratton said about what the Heat needed to do in the third.
Heat / Xtreme Total Shutdown
Both defenses in the third came up huge. Neither team could score a goal in the final frame. One thing of note, is that the shot clock stopped working a minute in. It caused a delay of five minutes or so. Once the game resumed, it was back to work for each team’s goaltender. Tyler Wareham, who got the last minute start, stood on his head throughout the third. The heat got a third powerplay chance in the period, but were unable to cash in.
“It was good to get a win. Started off a little slow I think, lots of shots and stuff like that, had some good individual opportunities, but you can notice when we got our goals in the beginning it was off team work.” Coach Dennis Hodinsky said post-game.
It was a 9-4 in favour of the Lakeland Junior B Heat. The Heat’s next game is June 10, at Imperial Oil Place in Cold Lake against the Sherwood Park Titans.