Mayor Sean McIntyre, and team captains Mike Dempster (left) and Mike McAdams (right) took part in a ceremonial puck drop on Dec. 21. The Friday night game was the Pirates’ first to be played on home ice at the NexSource Centre. Photo submitted.

Sylvan Lake Pirates lose in NexSource Centre debut

The Pirates fell 8-2 to the Red Deer Rustlers on Dec. 21

The Sylvan Lake Pirates dropped the puck at their first true home game of the season on Dec. 21 at the NexSource Centre against the Red Deer Rustlers.

The Pirates, who normally play their home games at Bentley Arena, fell 8-2 to the Rustlers in the Dec. 21 game.

Arena 2 at the NexSource Centre was packed with hockey fans, including Mayor Sean McIntyre, to support the Pirates’ in their final game of 2018.

“Everybody was really excited actually, from the players to the coaches, to the town,” said Coach Tim Sylvester. “It was nice, we had great support here.”

Sylvester added Mayor McIntyre was excited to drop the puck for the Pirates and it was “an absolute blast” to watch everyone be excited about the Pirates playing at home.

Unfortunately, the positive energy didn’t find a way to transfer itself to the scoreboard.

“All the boys were so excited to play here everybody was gripping their stick a little bit tight,” said Sylvester.

The Pirates faced a tough first period and went into the first intermission down 4-0, with three of the goals being scored during Rustler power plays.

Pirates’ Curtis Klein managed to find the back of the net, with assistance from Eric Moltzahn and Justin Moltzahn, at the end of the second period.

The Pirates went into the third period down 6-1.

The final frame of the game opened with a power-play goal off the stick of Justis Lowry, from Jaret Smith and Eric Moltzahn, to make it a 6-2 game.

The Rustlers got two more past goalie Adam Gingras to make the score 8-2 at the final buzzer.

“That start at the beginning really hurt us and we learn from it, I guess, and move forward,” commented Sylvester.

Two Pirates faced injury during the Dec. 21 game and it is unsure whether or not they will be back on the ice for the Pirates’ final two regular season games in January.

The Pirates will hit the road to face off against the Morinville Kings on Jan. 12 and wrap up regular season with an away game against the Eckville Sr. Eagles on Jan. 28.

“It’s two tough teams, which is good,” explained Sylvester, adding he is “pretty sure” the Pirates are going to make playoffs. “I’d rather go into playoffs playing two hard teams than playing two easy teams.”

The Sylvan Lake Pirates are currently seventh in league standings.

“We’re looking pretty good actually,” said Sylvester. “It’s been because the boys have been learning and growing.”

“Being the first year they’ve had to really get on board with changing the way they did things to they way the coaches needed things done and seeing how they needed to be done to play in this league,” continued Sylvester. “We should be able to do fairly well, it’s a good year.”

Going into January Sylvester says the team is just going to move forward and learn from their past mistakes.

“We’ve made those changes and that’s why we’re sitting where we are rather than as an inaugural team being in last place,” said Sylvester. “We’re not in last place, which is good.”

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No. 14 Mike McAdam chases down the puck in the first period on Dec. 21. The Pirates fell 8-2 to the Red Deer Rustlers in their final game of 2018. The Pirates return to the ice for two more games in January to wrap up regular season play. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

Ten02 provided music for hockey fans in the viewing lounge and for those looking for another drink during the Pirates home game on Dec. 21. Photo by Kaylyn Whibbs/Sylvan Lake News

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