Saturday, December 5th, the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs will return home after being on the road for two weeks. Home crowd, Santa’s Elves Toy Drive, and 12 points from 6 wins, will welcome the boys back to town. Head Coach Rick Swan says the win versus Fort McMurray Thursday night was a perfect end to a perfect road trip.
“We played a simple game,” explains Coach Swan, “we’re a team that prides ourselves on doing little things well. If we stay within the framework of our structure, and that’s what I mean by doing little things well, we’ll get rewarded eventually. That’s what we thought we did today, we didn’t give up a heck of a lot. When we got away from our structure, it allowed them to capitalize; but overall, we just played a simple, structured game and that seems to be the recipe for our team.”
After 20 minutes of a scoreless game, the Pontiacs fired first… and second in the second period. Zach Mills continues his point streak with a goal at 11:39 from Ben Mack. The Pontaics took a two-goal lead before the end of 40, Derek Brown got the goal with Brinson Pasichnuk and Brandon Whistle picking up juicy apples.
I was skating up the ice and Whistle ended up hitting Brinson, who was behind me. Originally, I wasn’t expecting the pass, I saw that Brinson was probably going to shoot it, then he ended up tossing it right over the guy. It was a beautiful pass, it got on my tape and I just buried it -Derek Brown #8 Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
Onto the third where to Pontiacs secured the most dreaded lead in hockey, 3-0, with a goal from Whistle at 4:46 off B. Pasichnuk and Bobby McMann. Fort McMurray attempted to close the gap with two goals back-to-back, 6:02 and 7:13, but the momentum was short-lived as Brown put in an unassisted goal at 15:02 to close the game.
I was one-on-one, and I just stood-up, toe-dragging and ended up putting it between the guy’s legs. The goalie ended up poke-checking it and I was skating, my stride, ending up hitting the puck and it went top shelf – Derek Brown #8 Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs
December 1st marked roster cut-down in the AJHL, the Pontiacs kept the seamstress outta work and didn’t remove any name tags, Coach Swan says it goes to show the confidence the brass has in the squad. “we worked so hard recruiting our guys, we make so many commitments at the beginning of the year, we’d hate to give up on our guys early. We’ll make a more if it makes sense for the better of our organization. We’re also cognoscente of the chemistry we have in the dressing room, we decided that there wasn’t a player out there that would be able to allow us to benefit moving forward. As well, we take care of our players, so we decided to stay.”
“We have a player that’s out with long-term injury, a dynamic player, Josh Borynec. We believed if we would make a trade, he’d be the type of guy we’d be getting and we have him within our system,” Swan explains there’s no need to rock the bus. “We believe that we’re going to get better, when we have some more practice time. So, a lot of things didn’t make sense to try to do a shake up or a shuffle, so we stayed.”
Injuries have been tough on the team, says Swan, “we’re knocking on wood and we’re unscathed with the amount of games that we’ve had. But look at now, Bryan Gerstenfeld fell, a guy that plays key minutes for us had a shoulder injury [Thursday]. Steen Pasichnuk re-injured his ankle, he’s our captain and our heart and soul of our team. Our goaltender, we have an AP in here. We need to get through the month of December, so we can allow our guys to heal up for January-February. We’ll manage the best we can, injuries are part of the game and it gives our guys challenges and opportunities to step up and play key roles; which will ultimately make us better.”
We showed a lot of character, we had some defensive breakdowns, but we found a way to win. That’s what’s going to take us far – Derek Brown #8 Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
The Pontiacs are home tomorrow, Saturday December 5th versus Grande Prairie, 7:30 pm puck drop at the RJ Lalonde Arena. The team encourages everyone to bring a new unwrapped toy for Santa’s Elves.