The AJHL Showcase in Camrose is complete for another year! The Pontiacs faced two southern opponents in their showcase games. The Calgary Mustangs took home a 4-0 victory in game one. It was a much improved effort against Okotoks, but the Yaks were again on the losing side, 7-3. This is your Bonnyville Pontiacs post weekend report!
Game 1 – Pontiacs vs Mustangs
The Mustangs scored with just over two minutes to go in the first. The goal stood as the only of the first period. It was 1-0 headed into the second. The Pontiacs couldn’t seem to put together a goal in the second period despite out-shooting the Mustangs 17-7. The ‘Stangs scored another goal in the opening half of the second period. Calgary led 3-0 headed into the dressing room. The third period saw the Yaks give up an early goal, as the Calgary lead extended to 3-0. Bonnyville out shot Calgary for the third straight period, but Calgary netted the put away goal halfway through the period. It was a tough loss on a big stage for the Bonnyville Pontiacs. Final score was 4-0.
“I don’t know if it was the nerves, or the hype of the exposure of having so many young guys. We came out tight, and not as invested with our preparation as we were with Whitecourt… It was a complete 60 minute effort against Whitecourt. Coming into the showcase we were an entirely different team. I think that’s what you can expect with a young team. Learning how to be successful at the Jr. A level, there preparation has to be switched on, and dialed in… It’s frustrating, but at the same time we have to be patient.” Head Coach Rick Swan explains.
Game 2 – Pontiacs vs Oilers
The Bonnyville Pontiacs rolled into the noon game against the Okotoks Oilers humbled. The 4-0 loss against the Mustangs ensured the young Yaks knew the Oilers game was going to be a challenge. The first period featured the Okotoks squad taking a 3-0 lead after the first period. The shots were close as the Oilers edged the Pontiacs by just two shots in the first. The second period started tough for Bonnyville, with the Oilers striking on the powerplay just 32 seconds in.
Three minutes later, the Pontiacs scored their first goal of the Showcase on the powerplay. Isaac Saniga picked up a passing play from PJ Morrocco, and Kirby Proctor to cut the lead to 3-1. The Oilers scored with four minutes to go in the second, and again the Pontiacs responded. Kirby Proctor scored his first goal as a member of the Bonnyville Pontiacs to make it a 5-2 Oilers lead. The third period saw the Oilers strike first again. In the dying minutes of the third period, PJ Morrocco picked up a goal on assists from Brady Pupp, and Lucas Thorne. It was a 7-3 final for the Oilers.
“We understand that with a young team we don’t have to win every game. We need to move in a positive direction every day. Collectively as a coaching staff, and all 25 players we have. We’re always tweaking our lineup. We know skill has no age, so the only thing lacking right now is experience.” Swan says of the weekend’s lessons.
The AJHL has proven to be a nightly contest of anyone can beat anyone so far this year. The Pontiacs hope that trend continues as they face the Sherwood Park Crusaders on October 3rd. The game is at the R.J. Lalonde Arena at 7:30 p.m.