By Tyler Lowey, Times Reporter
The defending provincial champions home debut was a successful one last weekend.
The Wheatland Chiefs picked up a pair of South Central Alberta Hockey League wins at the Strathmore Family Centre.
Bouncing back from a 1-1 opening weekend, the local double-A midget team shaved the CBHA Blackhawks 4-3 Oct. 7.
When the Chiefs came out for warm up, the captain and his alternates featured the new letters stitched onto their sweaters. Brady Skiffington is one of the returning players from last year’s dominant squad and showed right away how deserving he was to be named an alternate.
The Chiefs fell down 2-0 in the first period after the Blackhawks tucked a short-handed goal past second-year netminder Riley Stovka.
Skiffington started the comeback with a solo effort at the 13:47 mark of the first to bring the Chiefs within one.
Skiffington was in on the second marker, as he and Brian Butland set off Jaycob Masciangelo’s first goal of the season midway through the second.
Skiffington wasn’t done there, as he shovelled in a backhander with 24 seconds remaining in the frame from Ty Skehar, tying the home opener at three.
The winner came off the stick of Stran Red Crow on the power play with five minutes remaining in regulation, from Skehar and Mitch Desserre.
Stovka was solid down the stretch, making 30 saves for his second win on the season.
The Chiefs wrapped up the weekend with a sound 5-2 decision over the Airdrie Lightning Oct. 8.
Desserre opened things at 7:31 into the first when he blasted home a point shot on the power play from Austin Kuryk and Chase Clayton.
Less than a minute later, Red Crow undressed the Lightning netminder for his third goal of the season.
Ethan Rycroft wasn’t as busy in net as Stovka was one night earlier, but he had to be sharp in the second when the Lightning was awarded a penalty shot. It was one of his 21 saves on the afternoon.
Butland notched the winner in the second while a man up. His shot came from Ben Kruse and Skehar at the 13:52 mark.
Adrian Kusu and captain Lucas Muenchrath added the insurance.
The Chiefs are on the road for a pair of games this weekend. First, they will take on the Lethbridge Hurricanes at the Henderson Ice Centre Oct. 13, before making the drive to Okotoks Oct. 15 to tangle with the Oilers at Murray Arena.
The next home game for the Chiefs will go Oct. 20 when they take on the Medicine Hat Hounds at the Strathmore Family Centre.
The Wheatland Warriors responded with a 7-4 victory at home Oct. 8 over the Medicine Hat Hounds (2-3-0) after getting blanked 4-0 by the Olds Grizzlys (2-1-1) Oct. 6.
Isaac Klassen stopped all 20 Warriors (2-4-1) shots at the Strathmore Family Centre.
Rylan Hodgson of the Hounds would not have the same luck, as he allowed all seven goals on 29 shots.
Ray Warrack supplied a pair of empty-netters and one helper, as the Warriors received singles from Chase Tweit, Brayden Ledrew, Ryder Many Grey Horses, Jarred Schrock and Austin Haslund.
The local double-A bantam team will look to see if their season high in goals can carry over to this weekend when they travel to Olds and District Sports Complex to take on the Olds Grizzlys (2-1-1) Oct. 14. The Warriors will return home the following evening to host the Lethbridge Hurricanes (2-1-2) at the Family Centre (1:30 p.m.).
The Wheatland Braves enjoyed a happy Thanksgiving weekend after busting out for a pair of road wins.
On Oct. 7, the Braves travelled to the home of the Kootenay Ice and trimmed the 2-3-0 Cranbrook BP Wings 5-4.
Tied at four, Luc Trevors netted the winner with 2:27 remaining in regulation, from Wyatt Yule.
The local double-A peewee team (3-2-0) had built up a 4-1 lead on the strength of goals from Nash Wassing, Adam Moore and Nolan Bell.
Matthew Dovichak held off a strong push from the Wings, recording 25 saves for his first win of the season.
The Braves blew the doors off the 0-4 Taber Golden Suns 7-3 Oct. 8 at the Taber Community Centre.
Garrin Gosling led the charge with two goals and two assists, while Charles Goll supplied three assists. The rest of the scoring came from Aden Miller, Tyler Fairbairn, Bell, Trevors and Conner Radke.
There is just one game on deck for the Braves this weekend, as they host the Lethbridge Hurricanes Red (4-0-1) at the Strathmore Family Centre (4:45 p.m.) in a battle for first place in the south conference.