Tuesday , 22 June 2021

Yaks Start Home Stretch Feeling Good About Themselves – And Why Not?

“We’re on a really good high right now, and we’re coming into each game expecting to win, and that hasn’t been something that we’ve had here with that mindset,” said Rick Swan.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs just endured the longest road trip in AJHL history and took four of five on their sojourn south, winning 3-2 against Canmore Sunday afternoon.

Other than the Okotoks Oilers tripping them up with their top end talent, the Pontiacs were often ahead and in control of the games.

They are rolling lines and scoring. They are tinkering with the roster, continuing to add to the mix.

The Pontiacs are 13-3 and first in the AJHL North Division.

Some notes ahead of their three game home stand that starts tonight:

  • The Pontiacs host the Grande Prairie Storm tonight in a battle of the top 2 scoring teams in the North. Zachary Okabe and Zach Webb each have 21 points, tied for 3rd in total league scoring. The Storm have four point scorers in the league’s top 20 – the Yaks have none.
  • Whitecourt comes to town Friday night and Okotoks visits Saturday at the end of their three game North road-trip.
  • By Saturday night, the Pontiacs will have played their 10th game in 17 days beginning with the Spruce Grove Saints on Wed Oct. 10. Three times within this month stretch, they’ve had to play three games in four nights. They are 6-1 in that stretch.
  • Pontiacs defenseman Jeremy Gervais was named an AJHL player of the week. Coach Rick Swan said:  “He’s got the innate ability to slow the game down, make easy plays all the time, though he can also make hard plays look easy. His vision is special and I think that Jeremy Gervais adds a different component that we haven’t had for a long time.” Gervais earned 11 of his 13 points on the team’s last road trip.
  • The Pontiacs completed two trades over the week. They received 99 F Cayden Kraus from Olds in exchange for ‘00 F Noah Westgate and ‘00 F Hunter Floris. Trey Thomas, a former teammate of Grayson Constable’s in Salmon Arm BC, is now a Pontiac, and has 5 points in 5 games.

Coach Swan said: “We talk about the gratitude of everybody serving the team and recognition of what everybody brings to the team. We do a lot of 1 on-1 goal setting. We had Jason Wiwad our personal development and skills coach and work with each player on their individual goal and how that fits into our team goals. We talk a lot about our mission this year which is to be successful not only on the ice and to have the opportunity to compete in the north division and an AJHL championship, but the process goals that it’s going to take to get there.

“I really think this trip was amazing for us to be able to enhance our culture and enhance our organization and what we want to be in the community.”

Puck drop tonight against Grande Prairie at the RJ Lalonde is at 7:30pm.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.