Iced the IceKings & the Lightning Strike Last

The Pioneers had another double header weekend at home and treated the fans to more offensive excitement. The Fox Creek IceKings visited Gibbons Arena Saturday Oct 22 and were no match for Oliver Lovely and the Pioneers. Lovely led the team with 4 goals and 1 assist. The first period started off all Pioneers as they peppered the Ice Kings goaltender Trey Hoffman with 21 shots. However, the score was tied at 1 heading into the room for the first intermission. 

The Pioneers came out flying in the second period set on burying the puck in the back of the net. And they did just that with goals from Shott, Lovely and newly arrived Moosewah putting the visitors from Fox Creek on the ropes with a four goal lead (5-1). Special teams were the difference in the third with a short handed addition from Lovely and power play goals from Corbeil and Ramirez-Roszko, his first of the season. The scoring was topped off by assistant captain and third year veteran Dustin Ackabee, who has made a change from defence to forward this season and Jaron Shirt. The Pioneers came away from this one with two points and a 10-1 win. 

Corbeil added another three points on the night to bring his total to twelve on the season. "It means everything to me (to be joining this group). I have been given an opportunity to play at a higher level and learn from the veterans of my age group." Lovely said of leading the team to another win, "these past few games have been feeling pretty good. There is still room for improvement every day but thanks to my linemates, it definitely adds a lot of support on the ice." 

The team didn't have long to celebrate as they were right back on the ice in a short turn around for their matinee game Sunday Oct 22 against the Lightning. The Pioneers were looking for redemption having lost to the crew from Northern Alberta in a shootout in their last match up. The first period was a grind as both teams were looking to come out on top. Captain Seth Williams started off the scoring with assists from Lovely and brother Kale. The Pioneers thought they'd take it to the intermission with a 1-0 lead but let a late one in by the Lightning to allow them to tie it up. 

The Lightning were pushing hard in the second outshooting the Pioneers 16-11 but second year goalie Meric Larson kept them scoreless in the second. With the game still tied at 1, the third period emotions started to run high. Williams had his second of the game from Gryba-Smith to put the home team up 2-1 early in the frame. The two teams then traded goals back and forth with the Lightning getting goals from Caldwell and Jack and the Pioneers getting a short handed from Storm Burns. Tied at 3 half way through the third, the Pioneers got away from their disciplined play spending too much time in the box and allowing the Lightning to strike one last time to steal this one from the Pioneers again by a score of 4-3. 

Corbeil noted, "the next time around, we need to stay focused and keep our tempers in check because we know what the repercussions are. Next weekend will be focus driven and we will stay disciplined and consistent for the entire game. We will hungrier than they are." 

Lovely is not worried about the back to back losses to the Lightning. "Our time will come. I believe we are a top team this year. A couple more practices and building our chemistry with our teammates will help us to win more." 

Coach Arsenault is planning on focusing on the defensive zone, forecheck and power play this week. "It was great to perform well Saturday but a disappointing loss on Sunday. We are a young team with significant gains from last season however we are still focused on getting better every day. The season is long and for us, it is about peaking at the right time." 

Despite the loss, Larson said "I am going to focus on just playing my game" the next time he gets the call to start between the pipes. Larson has been playing a leadership role with three new goaltenders part of the squad - Quavis Crane, Austin Trieber and development player Izack Hodgins. "Leading the goalies is a little stressful but fun at the same time. The relationship between the group is very good. We all know that we are competing with each other for that starting spot but we are all still close." We will see who gets the call in net when the Pioneers take on the Icekings once again next Saturday in Fox Creek. 

The Pioneers will be back at home the following weekend Friday November 3rd when they take on the Edson Eagles. Come check out the improved Pioneers experience including fast paced hockey, skillful plays, exciting goals and entertainment throughout the game with Chuck-a-puck, Frisbee Toss, raffles and more. Last years Pioneers brand was "Change is Coming" and if you have seen this new squad already this season you can attest that Change in fact has Come!