BARRHEAD – It wasn't the result the Barrhead Steelers were hoping for as they skated away with just one point following two games on home ice over the Jan. 13-15 weekend.
The first was a 4-1 loss Jan. 13 against Winfield, while the next night against Hinton, they played to a 4-4 draw.
That one point places the Steelers atop the four-team Tier 2-3 Black Division with a 6-4-2 record — good enough for 14 points. However, coach Steven Kaplan notes the Steelers have games in hand on some of the teams.
"I think we are in a pretty good position going into the final half of the season," he said.
Kaplan noted the team has about eight games left before the provincial playdowns and the Northern Alberta Interlock (NAI) playoffs (the format of which is yet to be announced) begin.
In the Steelers' game against Winfield, Kaplan said the game sheet is a bit misleading, as it shows the home team vastly outshooting their rivals 69 to 32.
Carter Greilach got Barrhead's only goal, a power play marker just short of the halfway point of the third period, with assists from Kayden Rentz and Cohen Dancause. William Bain got the start in the net.
"A lot of our shots were from the outside. I would say the actual scoring chances were about equal," he said. "We actually could have had more shots recorded. We might have taken a hundred, but Winfield blocked an awful lot of them. I have to give them credit. It was a good matchup for us, and they played very well defensively and made the most out of their opportunities."
Winfield is at the top of their Tier 2-3 division with a 9-1-1 record.
In the second game against Hinton, penalty trouble was the big story of the game.
Officials called 15 minor penalties (and 14 power plays against Barrhead) that Kaplan said "is too much" for one game and was not indicative of the play.
However, he also noted they had an inexperienced official refereeing his first U18 game.
The result of having so many penalties called against them is that the Steelers were short-handed for prolonged periods of the game, including three times when they were two players down.
"And to have only given up two power-play goals and then to be able to score two of our own says something about how strong our special teams were," he said.
Hinton opened the scoring with under five minutes to go.
Kaplan said the goal was unfortunate, as Barrhead's starting goaltender was bumped, falling onto his butt and could not get back to his feet for the shot.
Barrhead evened the score at about the seven-minute mark of the second period thanks to a power play goal by Kayden Rentz, with a helper awarded to Tray Preuss.
Unfortunately for Barrhead, Hinton got off to a strong start scoring the first of their power play goals on a two-man advantage, less than a minute into the final frame.
The Steelers would tie the game again seven minutes later on a goal by Miller Ferguson assisted by Preuss. Less than a minute after that Barrhead forward Carter Greilach gave the Steelers their first and only lead of the game.
Two minutes later, Hinton tied the game again and took the lead scoring two unanswered goals.
But Barrhead wasn’t done. With about six-and-a-half minutes left in the game, Carsen Anderson drew a tripping penalty between the circles in the offensive zone.
Two minutes after that, in the final seconds of the power play, Jett Parks capitalized, scoring the tie goal with an assist from Tayson Hallock.
William Bain went the distance in net, stopping 23 out of 27 shots.
The Steelers' next home game will be a return matchup against Hinton on Jan. 28. Puck drop is 3 p.m.