Things haven’t been coming easy lately for the Williams Lake Stampeders senior men’s hockey club.
The defending Central Interior Hockey League regular season champions have dropped two games straight and have slipped to third spot in the East Division.
The most recent — a 5-4 loss to the expansion Lac La Hache Tomahawks Saturday at Lac La Hache’s Rolf Zeis Memorial Arena.
Stampeders general manager Don Hanson said the team has been struggling to field enough players for road games and was missing nine players in Saturday’s loss in Lac La Hache.
“We just ran out of steam in the third period,” Hanson said. “We didn’t have enough players. We were short nine guys — a few guys are hurt and some guys were at work.”
The 12 Stampeders players who did suit up in Saturday’s game, Hanson said, did give it a great effort.
“It was a really good game,” he said. “They’d go ahead, then we’d go ahead. But in the last 10 minutes they got two goals and we just didn’t have steam left.”
Williams Lake jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with goals from Matt Lees and Wilfred Robbins, before the Tomahawks answered back with two of their own from Ryan Minnabarriet and Dedrick Alec.
Minnabarriet added his second marker in the second period, before Ryan Yaworski and Lees put the Stampeders up again, 4-3, heading into the third period.
There, Lac La Hache’s Anothony Sellars and Tye Moses beat Stampeders goaltender Justin Foote to ice the contest for the Tomahawks.
Picking up the win between the pipes for Lac La Hache was Willie Sellars, who stopped 27 of 31 shots.
“They’re big guys,” Hanson said of the Tomawhawks. “There was a lot of hitting, steady throughout. The crew that we had did well. Foote played a good game and it was anybody’s game, but you’ve got to have three lines minimum or you can’t really expect much.”
With the loss the Stampeders fall to three wins and three losses on the season, leaving them 10 points back of the first-place Quesnel Kangaroos (8-0-0) and one point back of the second-place Omineca Ice (3-4-1) in the East Division.
Next up, Williams Lake continues its road swing with a Nov. 12 date with the Ice in Omineca followed by a Nov. 13 game against the Quesnel Kangaroos.
The Stampeders return to the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex on Nov. 18 for their third season meeting with the Tomahawks. Game time is 7:30 p.m.