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Lightning struck down by Flyers
By Barry Williams
February 13
, 2006

Olds Albertan


Playing in their first playoff series in the Rural Alberta MidgetAAA Hockey League in Fort Saint John, B.C., the Rocky Mountain Lightning were struck down by the B.C.Yukon
Flyers two games to none, in the best of three quarter-final series.
In the first encounter, the Lightning were downed 7-1 on Friday, Feb. 24 while in the second game, Saturday, Feb. 25, the Flyers scored a late third period goal to skate away with a hard fought 4-3 victory.
Despite dropping both games, Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin, was proud of the player's efforts.
"There's no shame in losing, especially when there is a solid effort by every player,"
said Austin, noting some of the players were heartbroken.
In his address to the players after the second game, Austin told the players they should be proud of themselves.
When the Lightning broke training camp back in September, Austin indicated the team goal was to make the playoffs.
"For a second year team to make the playoffs in this league is truly deserving," Austin said.
"It's unfortunate we couldn't win a game in the playoffs, but the experience of being in them was rewarding for the players," said Austin.
In the Fountain Tire league standings, the Lightning finished fifth with a record of 18 wins,
18 defeats and 4 ties for 40 points.
According to Austin, the Lightning's position in the standings was respectful considering they started the season out on a losing streak.
"After the Christmas break, we had one of the best records in the league," Austin added.
Offensively, the Lightning scored 144 goals and defensively they allowed just 128 goals against, third lowest in the league.
"Defensively, we played well throughout the entire season," said Austin, indicating the blueliners also contributed offensively.
"I thought we struggled a bit offensively in the early part of the season but once we finalized our line combinations we started to put the puck in the net on a regular basis,"
Austin added.
Sniper Matt Williams was the Lightning's leading scorer with 46 points on 31 goals and 25 assists.
In the first game against the Flyers, Austin indicated the Lightning were outplayed.
"We couldn't generate any offence in the first game, were flat right from the opening face-off ," Austin said.
"They (Flyers) were constantly forechecking us in our own end and we couldn't handle the pressure," Austin said.
Cassidy Collins was the only player to dent the twine for the Lightning.
Meanwhile, in the second encounter, Austin noted the game was exciting end to end action.
"This was probably one of the best games we played all year," said Austin, noting the Lightning couldn't convert their scoring opportunities.
"It was a tough loss, the players were pretty disappointed after the game," Austin noted.
Scott Kennedy handled the Lightning scoring netting a hat trick.
According to Austin, the Lightning hockey program is strong and with the success of this season, the program will only become stronger.


 

Lightning striking for fourth place
By Barry Williams
February 13
, 2006

Olds Albertan

 

When the Rocky Mountain Lightning broke training camp back in September they se their goals on making the play offs in the Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.

And with three games remaining in the current schedule, the Lightning have qualified for post season play and are now striking for a fourth place finish.

In action this coming week, the Lightning will have a chance of finishing in fourth place as they play host to the North East B.C. Yukon Flyers in a two game series and the Edge Mountaineers at the Carstairs Memorial Arena.

With 38 points on the season, the Lightning are just three points behind the Edge Mountaineers with 41 points and four back of the Flyers with 42 points.

Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin is confident the Lightning can finish the regular season on a winning note.

"If the players keep their focus on the remaining games, we have a good chance of finishing fourth," Austin said.

And judging from the way the Lightning played against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in Carstairs this past weekend, they have an excellent chance of claiming fourth place overall.
On Friday, Feb. 10, the Lightning handed the Oil Barons a 3-1 defeat."It was a solid team effort against Fort McMurray," Austin said.

"Defensively we played a very good game limiting them on their scoring opportunities," added Austin.
According to Austin, the Lightning have been working on their defensive play and in the past games the Lightning's commitment to defensive play dividends.

Austin indicated the lightning players have bought into the idea of playing strong defensively and are willing to make the sacrifice to obtain a victory.

At the beginning of the year, the Lightning were not concentrating on defensive play and as a result they lost games they should have won.

"The players now realize they have an excellent chance at winning games if they play strong defensively," Austin added.

Against the Oil Barons, the Lightning's ability to move the puck quickly out of their own end produced many scoring opportunities.
"We out shot the Oil Barons by quite a margin and this was largely due to our defencemen hitting our forwards with quick long passes," Austin added.

Offensively, the Lightning enjoyed a large margin in shots but had problems finishing around the net.

"I thought their goaltender played well and kept the game close," Austin said.

For the Lightning, Justin Zellweger, Danny Williams and Preston Hunter dented the twine.
Austin noted the trio of Zellweger, Hunter and Mike Arnold were a dominant force throughout the entire game.

"They controlled the puck and created a lot of scoring chances," Austin said.

In looking forward to this week's action, Austin believes the Lightning should pick up six points.

"We are matched up well against North East B.C.-Yukon and with a solid work ethic against the Mountaineers we should be able to beat them," said Austin noting the Lightning have lost a pair of games by one goal against the Mountaineers.

As it stands now, the Lightning could meet the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.

And the two games this week against the Flyers could be an excellent book mark of what to expect if the Lightning and the Flyers tangle in the play offs.

"One thing we will have to do in the playoffs is to play disciplined," Austi said, indicating they have been taking too many penalties lately.

This past weekend, the Lightning held a dinner and dance along with a silent auction to raise funds for the team and from all indications the Lightning could realize close to $7,000 from the event.

"On behalf of the Lightning, I would like to thank everyone for their support of this event," said Austin.


 

Lightning preparing for post season play
By Barry Williams
February 23
, 2006

Olds Albertan

 

When the Rocky Mountain Lightning broke training camp back in September they se their goals on making the play offs in the Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.

And with three games remaining in the current schedule, the Lightning have qualified for post season play and are now striking for a fourth place finish. In action this coming week, the Lightning will have a chance of finishing in fourth place as they play host to the North East B.C. Yukon Flyers in a two game series and the Edge Mountaineers at the Carstairs Memorial Arena.
With 38 points on the season, the Lightning are just three points behind the Edge Mountaineers with 41 points and four back of the Flyers with 42 points.
Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin is confident the Lightning can finish the regular season on a winning note.
"If the players keep their focus on the remaining games, we have a good chance of finishing fourth," Austin said.
And judging from the way the Lightning played against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in Carstairs this past weekend, they have an excellent chance of claiming fourth place overall.
On Friday, Feb.. 10, the Lightning handed the Oil Barons a 3-1 defeat.

"It was a solid team effort against Fort McMurray," Austin said.
"Defensively we played a very good game limiting them on their scoring opportunities," added Austin.
According to Austin, the Lightning have been working on their defensive play and in the past games the Lightning's commitment to defensive play dividends.
Austin indicated the lightning players have bought into the idea of playing strong defensively and are willing to make the sacrifice to obtain a victory.
At the beginning of the year, the Lightning were not concentrating on defensive play and as a result they lost games they should have won.
"The players now realize they have an excellent chance at winning games if they play strong defensively," Austin added.
Against the Oil Barons, the Lightning's ability to move the puck quickly out of their own end produced many scoring opportunities.
"We out shot the Oil Barons by quite a margin and this was largely due to our defacement hitting our forwards with quick long passes," Austin added.
Offensively, the Lightning enjoyed a large margin in shots but had problems finishing around the net.
"I thought their goaltender played well and kept the game close," Austin said.

For the Lightning, Justin Zellweger, Danny Williams and Preston Hunter dented the twine.
Austin noted the trio of Zellweger, Hunter and Mike Arnold were a dominant force throughout the entire game.
"They controlled the puck and created a lot of scoring chances," Austin said.
In looking forward to this week's action, Austin believes the Lightning should pick up six points.
"We are matched up well against North East B.C.-Yukon and with a solid work ethic against the Mountaineers we should be able to beat them," said Austin noting
the Lightning have lost a pair of games by one goal against the Mountaineers.

As it stands now, the Lightning could meet the Flyers in the first round of the playoffs.
And the two games this week against the Flyers could be an excellent book mark of what to expect if the Lightning and the Flyers tangle in the play offs.
"One thing we will have to do in the playoffs is to play disciplined," Austi said, indicating they have been taking too many penalties lately.
This past weekend, the Lightning held a dinner and dance along with a silent auction to raise funds for the team and from all indications the Lightning could realize close to
$7,000 from the event.
"On behalf of the Lightning, I would like to thank everyone for their support of this event," said Austin.



Lightning preparing for post season play
By Barry Williams
January 30
, 2006

 

With just six games left in the regular Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League schedule, the Rocky Mountain Lightning are preparing for post season play.
This past weekend, the Lightning solidified their hold on fifth place overall by picking up three out of a possible four points against the Spruce Grove Timberwolves.
Playing at home in Carstairs, the Lightning defeated the imberwolves 6-5 on Saturday, Jan. 28 and skated to a 3-3 draw on Sunday, Jan. 29.
With the three points garnished, the Lightning increased their points total to 33 comprised of 15 wins, 15 losses and 3 ties.
Although the three points garnished moved them up a notch in league standings, Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin, indicated the extra point would have given them more breathing
room on the Edge Mountaineers.
In league standings, the Timberwolves are second in overall standings with 50 points, three points behind the league leaders, Grande Storm.
"Actually, I thought it was a really good weekend for us," Austin said.
"Spruce Grove is one of the best teams in our league and we were very competitive with them," Austin added.
In past games, the Lightning have experienced problems in the third period as they have let leads slip away from them. Such was not the case against the Timberwolves.
According to Austin, the Lightning maintained their composure in the first game and were able to hang on to their one goal lead heading into the final stanza.
"I was a little worried in the first game as we almost let our lead slip away in the third period," said Austin.
"But, give the players credit, they battled hard right to the end of the game," said Austin.
"They were determined to come away with the victory," Austin added.
Since the Timberwolves are one of the most productive teams offensively in the league, Austin noted the Lightning played a close checking third period keeping the Timberwolves to the outside.
Austin noted the Lightning kept challenging the Timberwolves and took away their scoring opportunities in the final stanza.
"I was impressed in the way the players protected the one goal lead in the third period," Austin added.
At times during the season, Austin noted the Lightning have experienced problems maintaining the lead in the latter stages of the game.
Although the Ligtning play was simplified in the third period, Austin indicated the players didn't get fancy in their own end relying on dumping the puck out with every opportunity.
And in the second game, it was the Lightning's play in the third period which salvaged the tie for them.
Down 3-2 with just five minutes to play, the Lightning penalty killers stepped up their play killing off two sucessive penalties.
After weathering the storm short handed, the Lightning salvaged the game by scoring with just 30 seconds left in the game.
"This game was a confidence builder for us," said Austin, noting the players now realize they can be competitive by working hard over a sixty minute period.
With four of their six remaining games scheduled at the Carstairs Memorial Arena, Austin is confident the Lightning can challenge for fourth place or possibly attain third spot in overall
standings.
"If we can put together a winning streak finishing third is not out of the question," Austin added.
With eight teams qualifying for post season play, Austin indicated establishing home ice advantage is critical.
Because the Lightning are a regional team with players from Airdrie, Crossfield, Carstairs,
Didsbury and Olds, the Lightning scheduled their six games on the road which allowed the players the opportunity to bond and become friends.
"Most of players have never played together before, they always played against each other up to Midget," said Austin.
"It took time for them to become comfortable playing with each other but now they are playing their best hockey together, just in time for the playoffs," Austin said.
This week the Lightning entertain the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in Carstairs on Sat. Feb. 4.
On Sat. Feb. 11, the Lightning are holding a Valentine's Dinner and Dance at the Crossfield Community Hall. Included with this event a silent auction. Anyone interested in donating merchandise for the silent auction can contact Kim Tribble at 337-2881.


Lightning competitive at Kelowna tournament
By Barry Williams
January 23
, 2006

 

While playing some of the best MidgetAAA teams in North America at the Kelwona Midget AAA Invitational Hockey Tournament, the Rocky Mountain Lightning proved Central Alberta has some of the best Midget hockey players in North America.
Rated as one of the top ten MidgetAAA hockey tournaments, the Kelwona Invitational attracted thirty-two superior teams from across Canada and the United States and when the
final buzzer sounded ending the event, the Lightning iced three wins against two defeats.
Although the Lightning lost their first two games, they rebounded with solid efforts in their final three games picking up wins aganst the North East B.C. Flyers, (7-3) Waterloo, Ont. (1-0) and Colorado (6-2)
In their first game the Lightning were defeated 8-4 by the powerful Notre Dame Hounds from Wilcox, Sask. and upended 4-0 by the host Kelwona team.
"I thought we were very competitive during the tournament," said Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin.
"After losing the first two games, the players regrouped and responded with three very entertaining games," Austin added.
Except for the teams from the Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League Austin had no idea of what to expect from the competition and he was pleasantly surprised of the competitiveness of all teams present at the tournament.
Although the Lightning failed to blink the red light against Kelowna, Austin indicated the game on the ice didn't reflect on the scoreboard.
With ten minutes remaining in the game, Kelwona's lead was only a two goal margin and Austin felt the Lightning had their chances to score but were unable to finish off their plays.
"Kelowna really didn't out play us, we had our chances to score but couldn't capitalize on them," Austin said.
"When Kelowna had a good scoring opportunity they usually converted it," Austin said.
Meanwhile, in the game against thepowerful Notre Dame Hounds, Austin was impressed at the way the Hounds controlled the play through puck control by executing tape to tape passes and
finishing off their plays.
"They (Hounds) were a good skating club, excellent puck handlers and were very big," Austin said.
"Their size simply wore us down," Austin added.
Probably the best game of the entire tournament was against Waterloo as the teams battled it out to the final buzzer.
"There was no doubt the difference in this game was the goaltending," Austin said.
"Garrett Sheehan simply stood on his head for us," Austin noted.
"He made several unbelievable saves and certainly gave us the opportunity for the win," added Austin.
Against Colorado, the Lightning struck early in the game and kept the pressure on the American club throughout the entire contest.
"We played a really strong game against Colorado," said Austin.
"I thought we completely controlled the game and outplayed them by a wide margin," Austin said.
For the Lightning players, the Kelwona tournament gave them the opportunity to play against other teams from across Canada and the United States.
"This was an excellent tournament for our players because it showcased their talent and was a indicator to see how well we matched up against other Midget teams from across Canada and the United States," Austin said.
Three players, Sheehan, Matt Williams and Danny Miller represented the Lightning at the annual RAMHL all-star game held in Spruce Grove this past weekend.
"All three players represented the Lightning with class dignity at this game, I was very proud of them," Austin said.
Although Williams, the Lightning's leading scorer, failed to dent the twine, he had several good scoring chances.
On the blueline, Miller played extremely well and dished out some bone crushing checks.
Between the pipes, Sheehan was probably the best netminder in the game.
Because the RAMHL all-star game was held in conjunction with the AJHL all-star game in Spruce Grove, several hundred Junior A, Western Hockey League and college
scouts were in attendance it allowed the Midget players the opportunity to showcase their talents.
Austin is hopeful, the scouts noticed the Lightning players and he is confident all three players will surface later on in Junior or College hockey.
In league play on Sunday Jan. 22, the Lightning were defeated by the Spruce Grove Midget Saints 4-3 in overtime.
Because the RAMHL doesn't award a point for the losing team in overtime, the Lightning came away with nothing.
"We're probably the only league who doesn't award a point to the losing team in overtime, " said Austin, noting the teams should be rewarded for their play in regulation time.
This weekend, the Lightning are in action against Spruce Grove at the Carstairs Memorial Arena. Be sure to attend some exciting Midget hockey.



Lightning players named to RAMHL south all star team
By Barry Williams
January 9
, 2006


Three stalwart players from the Rocky Mountain Lightning have been named to the Rural Alberta MidgetAAA Hockey League Fountain Tire South Division all star team.
Goaltender, Garrett Sheehan of, Cremona, defenceman Danny Miller of, Didsbury, and forward Matt Williams were notified on Jan. 2, 2006 of their all star selection.
Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin, noted he was not surprised the players made the all star selection.
"I think the coaches made the right decision by naming these players to the all star team," said Austin, indicating they were all deserving of the selection.
Sheehan has the league's second best goals against average at 2.82 and the third best save percentage at .919. He has played the majority of games between the pipes and is partly responsible for the Lightning's superlative defensive record to date.
"He (Sheehan) has faced a lot of rubber so far this season and has been responsible for most of our wins," Austin said.
"Actually, our goaltending has been very good as Sheehan and Aaron Dell have faced over forty shots in several games so far this season," added Austin.
Dell, of Olds, has shared the netminding duties and although he hasn't appeared in many games he has racked up deserving numbers as he has a goals against average of 3.11 and a save percentage of .914.
Meanwhile, Williams has been blinking the red light frequently netting 20 goals and adding 25 assists for 45 points, good enough for third place in the league's scoring derby.
"He (Williams) has been our go to man all year and he has responded," Austin said.
"Although he has scored most of his goals on the power play, he has contributed killing penalties and is an excellent defensive forward," Austin added.
"Miller is probably the best defensive defenceman in the league," Austin said.
"A big lanky rear guard, Miller takes care of his own end and has been known to contribute offensively as well," noted Austin.
Besides contributing on the ice, Miller is an exceptional team leader and he has been a calming presence for the rookie defencemen.
Heading into the all star game, Austin is satisfied with the Lightning's on ice production and is proud of the way the players conduct themselves on the ice.
In the Fountain Tire South Division standings, the Lightning are in second place with 32 points four points behind the front runners, Edge Mountaineers and the Camrose Kodiaks with 36 points each.
"We've probably had the opportunity to win the majority of our games so far this season," added Austin.
"So far we haven't been blown away and most of the games we've lost have been by one or two goals," Austin indicated.
This past weekend in league action played at the Carstairs Arena, the Lightning split a doubleheader with the Lloydminster Blazers.
On Friday evening, the Lightning struck with three goals in all three periods in downing the Blazers 9-2 while on Saturday, the Blazers skated to a 4-2 victory.
"This was probably the best game we've played all season," Austin said noting everything was bouncing in the Lightning's favor.
"I thought our power play was the difference in the game as we scored three timely goals with the man advantage," Austin added.
In the second game, the Blazers showed up with a different team on the ice as they pressed the Lightning throughout the entire game and as a result were able to regain the momentum on several different times.
Three of the Blazers goals were scored on the power play, while the Lightning were unable to blink the red light with the man advantage.
"There's no doubt the difference in this game was Lloydminster's power play," said Austin, indicating the Lightning's penalty killing broke down.
Despite the loss, Aaron Dell played a strong game between the pipes making 23 saves.
In both games, different players contributed offensively. However, on the scoresheet, Mike Arnold was the leader with 5 points during the two games played.
This week end, the Lightning travel to Kelwona, B.C., to participate in a tournament.



Lightning frozen out by Wainwright Polar Kings
By Barry Williams
December19
, 2005

 

It was a chilly trip northward to Wainwright for the Rocky Mountain Lightning as they lost two games to the Polar Kings in Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League action this past weekend.

 

On Saturday Dec. 17, the Polar Kings scored three unanswered goals in the third period to skate away with a 6-5 victory over the Lightning.

 

Meanwhile, on Sunday Dec.18, the Polar Kings edged the Lightning 4-3 in a defensive struggle.

 

With the defeats, the Lightning failed to takeover first place in the Fountain Tire South Division standings.

 

With 29 points, the Camrose Kodiaks lead the south division standings just a single point ahead of the Lightning with 28 points.
Sitting in third place a single point behind the Lightning are the Edge Mountaineers with 27 points.

 

As a result of their two wins this past weekend, the Polar Kings are all alone in fourth place with 24 points.

 

In the Fountain Tire north division standings, the Grande Prairie Storm have a commanding lead with 47 points. Next in line in second place with 33 points are the Spruce Grove Timberwolves.

 

Sitting in third place with 17 points are the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
"With first place on the line, I was a bit disappointed with the results of the weekend play," said Lightning head coach Darcy Austin.
"We should have won at least one game against Wainwright over the weekend," added Austin.

 

On Saturday evening, the Lightning were in excellent shape to garnish a victory as they held a fairly comfortable 5-2 lead heading into the third period.

 

However, the Lightning strayed from their game plan and let the Polar Kings right back into the game enabling them to secure a victory.

 

According to Austin, the Lightning had their chances to score but they couldn't thread the needle for a goal in the final two minutes of play.

 

After playing two periods of solid hockey, the Lightning lost their concentration in the third period which was a direct result for the Polar Kings' victory.

 

"I don't know what happened to us in the third period," said Austin.
"Perhaps the players felt the three goal lead was enough and they had the game wrapped up," said Austin.

 

"Because the south teams are so evenly matched we can't afford to lose games against teams in our division," added Austin.
Throughout the entire season, Austin has instilled into the players to play hard for the entire sixty minutes. he remains a bit mystified why the Lightning quit playing in the final stanza.

 

Sunday's game was a barn burner as the teams abandoned their offensive style of hockey and were emboiled in a defensive struggle.
Although the Polar Kings outshot the Lightning by a large margin, they experienced problems finding the back of the net guarded by Aaron Dell.

 

Austin was impressed with the outstanding play of Dell between the pipes.

 

"He (Dell) was simply outstanding in the second game," said Austing noting Dell made several outstanding saves and gave the Lightning every possible chance for a victory.

 

And throughout the entire season, the Lightning have received outstanding netminding from Dell and Garrett Sheehan, who has the second best goaltending record in the League posting a 2.68 goals against average and has a save percentage of .924. Meanwhile, Dell is the sixth best netminder in the league with a 3.00 goals against average and a save percentage of .918.

 

In the scoring derby, Matt Williams is the only Lightning player in the top ten in scoring. so far Williams has blinked the redlight 23 times and added 19 assists for 42 points. Next action for the Lightning isn't scheduled until January, 2006.

 

"This break in the schedule will allow the players the opportunity of refocussing and let a few nagging injuries to heal," said Austin.
all of the Lightning home games are played in Carstairs and Austin is encouraging hockey fans to take in a game or two next year.


Injuries hurting Lightning

By Barry Williams
November 7, 2005

It was a tough weekend for the Rocky Mountain Lightning as the team was hit by injuries hurting their on ice play.
In Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League action this past weekend held in Carstairs, the Lightning lost a pair of games to Grande Prairie and a single encounter to the Edge Mountaineers.
Against Grande Prairie, the Lightning were involved in defensive struggles as the visitors notched a 2-0 win on Saturday Nov. 5 and a 2-1 victory on Sunday, Nov. 6.
In both games the Lightning were limited to 15 skaters as a rash of injuries kept several key players from suiting up.
"We were only able to acquire four affiliate players for both games so our numbers were down," said Lightning head coach Darcy Austin.
Despite the lack of skaters, the Lightning played with heart and desire and came close to upsetting, Grande Prairie, the top team in the RAMHL Fountain Tire north division.
According to Austin, Grande Prairie has an explosive offensive minded team and carried most of the play in both games out shooting the Lightning by a wide margin.
As it often happens in hockey, a masked man between the pipes often steals the spotlight and such was the case with the Lightning as netminder Garrett Sheehan, was simply brilliant robbing the Grande Prairie sharpshooters time and time again.
"He (Sheehan) was outstanding in both games," said Austin.
"Some of the saves he made were simply brilliant," Austin added.
Although the Lightning failed to record a point in the two game homestand, Austin was satisfied with the team's performance and indicated they were never out of both games.
"Our work ethic was extremely good during both games," said Austin.
Although the Lightning were only able to blink the red light once in the games, Austin indicated he was not worried about the offensive out put.
"We had our chances to score but were unable to bury the puck," Austin said.
Defensively, the Lightning's play drew praises from the coach.
Austin indicated the team has been working on their defensive play and it has improved during the past games.
"At times we had defensive breakdowns but overall our defenseman were responsible for their play," noted Austin. 
Austin indicated the defensemen were able to clear the front of the net giving Sheehan a good look at Grande Prairie shots.
"For the most part their shots were from the outside and when they had a good scoring opportunity, Sheehan turned them aside," said Austin.
After the weekend's play, the Lightning record stands at 8 wins against 8 defeats for 26 points, good enough for second place in the Fountain Tire south division.
Setting the pace are the Camrose Kodiaks with 20 points in sixteen games.
This coming Friday, Nov. 11, the Lightning will have the opportunity of closing the gap between them and the Kodiaks as they host the Kodiaks in a home game at the Carstairs Memorial Arena.
"This is an important game for us, as we need the points if we want to catch the Kodiaks in the standings," noted Austin.
As the Kodiaks pose an offensive threat, Austin noted the Lightning will have to play flawless defensive hockey in order to keep Camrose off the scoreboard.
"If our defense can keep the Kodiaks to the outside and limit their scoring opportunities we will have a good chance at winning this game," Austin said.
Offensively, the Lightning will have to create more scoring chances and shoot the puck at every opportunity.
As for the injuries, Austin noted the ones sustained lately are minor and most of the regular players will be in the line-up when Camrose comes to town.
And Carstairs fans will have a full day of watching hockey on Friday, Nov. 11 as the Olds Grizzlys will host the Drumheller Dragons in scheduled AJHL action prior to the Lightning game.


Sheehan backstopping Midget AAA Lightning

By Barry Williams
October 17, 2004

    Cremona netminder, Garrett Sheehan is making his mark with the Rocky Mountain Lightning of the Rural Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League.

    In four games between the pipes of the Lightning, Sheehan has posted a 2.56 GAA and has a save percentage of .900.

    Sheehan is one of twelve players from the County of Mountain View suiting up for the Lightning who play their home games at the Carstairs Arena.

    This past weekend, Sheehan backstopped the Lightning to a pair of victories over the Peace River Royals in RAMHL action played in Carstairs.

   On  Friday, Oct. 14, the Lightning offensive attack struck often as they blinked the red light frequently

     in a convincing 7-0 victory. Meanwhile, on Sat. Oct. 15, the Lightning skated to a 5-2 over the Royals.

    "Our goaltending kept us in both games," said Lightning head coach, Darcy Austin.

    "Defensively we played really well," added Austin, noting the play in their own end has improved.

    According to Austin, the main reason the offensive threat was so prominent in the games was the ability of the rear guards to move the puck out of their own end.

   With the defensive core hitting the forwards with break-out passes, the Lightning were able to penetrate the Royals' defensive core and keep sustained pressure in the opposition end for a period of time.

   "When our defense is contributing offensively, it gives us an added scoring threat," Austin added.

   "Defensively, our forwards were constantly back checking and the defensemen were clearing out players in front of our net," Austin added.

    On Friday evening, the Lightning completely dominated the game in every corner of the rink. However, on Saturday, the Royals played a stronger game and the outcome of the game was not decided until the final period.

    "In the second game Peace River was a different team and they played hard throughout the entire contest," Austin said.

    "This game wasn't decided until the latter stages of the third period," Austin said.

    At the end of the second period, the teams were deadlocked at two goals apiece which made for an exciting final stanza.

    "We were able to take advantage of their undisciplined play in the third period as we scored a couple of our goals on the power play," added Austin.

    With players from Airdrie, Carstairs, Didsbury, Cremona and Olds, Austin feels he has the right mixture of players to ice a very successful team.

    In his first year behind the bench of the Lightning, Austin is impressed with the caliber of hockey and he believes the talent is equal to the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League which ices teams from the major cities in Alberta.

    "This league provides players the opportunity to play major midget hockey close to home," Austin added.

    In fact, the Lightning have players on the roster who attended the camps of the Calgary teams, the Strathmore UFA Bisons or the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs.

    Hopefully by having a competitive Midget AAA team within the County of Mountain View and the MD of Rocky View, some of the graduates of the Lightning will be able to play Junior A hockey in Olds.

     "I have spoken to Grizzlys coach Kevin Hasselberg about affiliating some of our players with the Grizzlys and he is very open to the idea," Austin said.

   Austin believes in developing hockey players in their own backyard and this is one of the reasons he became involved with the Lightning.

   "If an organization can provide  players with the opportunity of playing competitive Midget AAA hockey at or close to home than everyone is a winner," Austin concluded.

   Besides Sheehan, other local players on the Lightning roster include Olds products, Cache Doolage, Jordan Smyler, Eric Becker, Nick Bojda and Matt Richardson. Suiting up for the Lightning from Didsbury are Jonathon Lefebvre, Danny Miller, Ryan Miller and Mark Arnold. Two players, Danny Wilson and Justin Zelweger, are from Carstairs and one Dave Courtney is from Linden.

    Support from the surrounding communities has been excellent and the team has enjoyed excellent fan support

    This coming weekend, the Lightning journey to Spruce Grove for a pair of games.

    Next home games scheduled for the Carstairs Arena are on Nov. 5-6 with Grande Prairie providing the opposition.


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