The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs had their win streak halted at 9, with a 4-1 upset to the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Assistant Coach Mark Jensen says the score doesn’t reflect the Pontiacs’ ability in the game, “for the most part it wasn’t a 4-1 game. We got down early, and for the most part it was a 0-0 game, until late in the third period.”
Sherwood Park opened up the scoring at 4:42 in the first, the second was a draw and the Crusaders continued to tuck the puck in the net in third with a goal at 5:59. Pontiacs’ center, #8 Derek Brown was the only Yak to light up the board in the game at 8:46. The Crusaders put in two more unanswered goals, 9:46 and 14:57, before the match was over.
“We lost too many battles,” Jensen says of the game, “one-on-one battles, starting from the face-off circle out. We didn’t do a good enough job at winning battles, and when you lose one-on-one battles it reflects on the scoreboard.”
Rookie Brown followed the Pontiacs’ master plan, says Jensen, “he stood in front of the net, which is where we need him to be. All of the rookies, that are new to this league, have to take note of that. Even our veteran players, who have played for a while, know that. You score in the dirty areas. If you’re going to hang around the perimeter you’re not going to score goals. Derek’s goal tonight was evidence of the work that’s necessary to score. Stand in front of the net and good things happen.”
Brown says he picked up the rebound on a wide shot, “I think it bounced off a couple of times before it got to me, I stood in front and it kinda hit my skate and I knew it went in.”
Although successful and able to pull through in two games leading up to this, the team has given up four goals in three straight games, Jensen says the coaching staff isn’t concerned about it, yet. “Not much of a concern, we know that the goals that were given up are correctable. We’ll take a look at the videos at the staff and correct it.”
Brown says the attitude on the bench was different on Tuesday, than it had been during the streak, “we had some mental breakdowns off the start and it didn’t seem like we were really into it. It cost us the first goal. It took a lot of work for us to get back and [the Crusaders] scored the second one and it put us down even more. Once I got that goal, I thought we were going to start fighting.”
Despite the loss, Brown explains the team worked hard, “we didn’t stop battling, we had enough shots to win, we just couldn’t find the back of the net.” The Pontiacs slightly edged the Crusaders in scoring with 41 to Sherwood Park’s 36.
Assistant Coach, Jensen believes the boys will be able to come back strong, “we have a few days of practice before the weekend, and we’ll pick up a couple of crucial games in Grande Prairie. We need to go up with the mindset that we’ll take four points from them and come home.”
Brown’s confident in his teammates, as well, heading to Grande Prairie, “it’s going to take a lot of preparation to go up against this team. I’ve seen some of their recent scores against Spruce Grove, so I know they can compete. It’s huge that we get these four points and come out on top.”
Pontiacs play Grande Praire Friday and Saturday on Storm turf, then return to the RJ for a Wednesday nighter against rivals, The Lloydminster Bobcats. Puck drops at the RJ on the 28th at 7:30 pm.