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Saturday , 16 October 2021
Image credit: Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs Facebook page.

Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs stay in playoff hunt with pair of wins

Image credit: Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs Facebook page. 

The Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs playoff hopes are still alive after a pair of victories on home ice leavee them one point behind the Westlock Warriors for the final NCHL playoff spot.

Netminder Eric Szudor made an astounding 72 saves and captain Lucas Islay and Denis Cadrin each scored four points to beat the Blackfalds Wranglers 7-3 on Saturday night, the first home game in 62 days.

Szudor only faced 37 shots on Sunday afternoon as the Sr. Pontiacs scored four first period goals en route to a 6-4 over the Westlock Warriors, who they’re chasing in the playoff picture.

“We got our offense going quick. I think the second or third shift of the game we started scoring and we got ourselves a pretty good lead,” said coach Corey Wandler on Saturday’s win.

Wandler and assistant coach Pete Ballash had to suit up on the backend for the Pontiacs who were down to four defensemen due to injury and work commitments.

With two games just 18 hours apart, they wanted to lighten the load off of their D core, said Wandler.

“We only had four defensemen for the weekend. So myself and the other coach Pete Ballash, we decided to dress on Saturday, just to give us another pair as we had two games. We didn’t want to run our guys too thin,” he said.

The game was a penalty-filled affair with each team attacking with double-digit powerplay opportunities.

Sunday’s game had more flow against Westlock and another great start.

“Now we’re within one point of them and yeah we came out with four goals in the first period. We got a goal from our third line which is a huge boost for us. We kept the shots down. We only gave them like 34-35 shots so we did a better job that way, but we also played more five-on-five in that game.

“The refs let us play a little bit more. But give credit to some of our guns, our big horses, Lucas Isley, Dennis Cadrin, Coltan Buchta, and Tanner Corbeil. Those guys lead offensively for us and got us those timely goals,” said Wandler.

The Pontiacs have three games remaining this regular season to try and leapfrog Westlock for the final playoff spot.

They are back at home on Saturday night against the Lacombe Generals with puck drop at 7:30pm.

The Generals beat the Pontiacs 4-2 in their matchup earlier this season.

“We didn’t get the bounces that game. We had some really good looks, we just couldn’t finish. We were in the fight the whole game. Hopefully, we’ll have another good effort against those guys next Saturday on home ice,” said Wandler.

Bonnyville’s record improves to 3-9-1 as they last in the North Central Senior Hockey League.

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.