The Pioneers were on the road on Saturday Nov 18th to take on the second place High Prairie Redwings. The Pioneers came out strong drawing an early penalty followed by Storm Burns capitalizing on the ensuing power play to go up 1-0. The Redwings got one right back and the teams traded goals throughout the first with the Pioneers getting scores from Corbeil and Whiteknife to lead 3-2 heading into the break.
Unfortunately, the Pioneers ran out of steam and got away from their game plan allowing the Redwings to score three unanswered even strength goals in the second. The game was still within reach down only two heading into the third and final frame.
The Redwings rough and undisciplined play frustrated the Pioneers and they allowed them to get under their skin and get away from their style of play allowing the Redwings to finish this one 9-3. When asked how they can hold off High Prairie next time, Whiteknife said, we need to “stay composed – don’t give into them and don’t let them get under our skin.”
Coach agreed, “We are still struggling with discipline – both with shift length and poor penalties. We will continue to hammer the message home about disciplined play and having class both on and off the ice. We have been inconsistent with our work ethic and structure. We are getting better every day but we have to outwork our opponents for the full sixty. When we can do that every night, we will compete with the top teams in the league.”
The team got right back on the ice Sunday Nov 19th to take on the Rampage. With the season series tied at 1, the Pioneers looked to get the better of the Rampage for the second weekend in a row. And that they did! It was all Pioneers for the home crowd, as they came out flying getting two even strength goals from Corbeil and newcomer Okemow and a power play goal from Lovely, his tenth on the season.
The boys had something to prove and kept the foot on the gas in the second getting another from Okemow and captain Williams.
Despite a number of penalties in the third, the Pioneers side was able to keep pushing for two final goals from Burns, his 11th point on the season, and Whiteknife who put in his third goal of the season. Goaltender Austin Trieber received the Player of the Game award for his shutout after returning to the lineup from a short injury. “I didn’t have many nerves coming into the game (after the absence). I felt confident in myself and towards my teammates knowing that they will do their job. I prepared like I would any other game. I felt focused and agile in the net on Sunday and I knew that I was going to be able to have the best chance to save any shot on goal. It’s a team game and it’s not just my shut out, it’s the teams shut out.” When asked about the new faces in the lineup, Coach Arsenault said “we are always looking to add depth to our program. We hope to continue to add some missing pieces between now and Christmas.”
The Pioneers will have a tough upcoming weekend with a home-and-home series against the Edson Eagles – you can see all the new faces on Friday night at Gibbons Arena and Saturday night in Edson.