Tristan Kimmen scored with just 50 seconds left in regulation to spoil a great effort by Pontiacs goaltender Matt Hennessey and give the Fort McMurray Oil Barons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on Sunday, winning by a final score of 4-2.
It’s Bonnyville’s first loss to the Oil Barons this season after winning the two previous head-to-head matchups.
However, on Saturday the Yaks rejoiced in a 8-3 rout of the Olds Grizzlys in the Teddy Bear Toss game sponsored by The Brick Bonnyville. Trey Funk didn’t make the jazzed crowd wait long to toss the stuffies either — just 3:12 into the first period.
The Pontiacs added pairs of goals from Alex Power and Chayce Schmidt, and tallies from Kash Rasmussen, Charlie Russell and Alex Atwill to complete their first win over the lowly Grizzlys this season.
There is just one game left before the Christmas break for this group: Thursday back at the RJ Lalonde Arena against those same Oil Barons.
After this weekend, the Yaks remain two points behind the Spruce Grove Saints for second place in the North Division and seven back of the Oil Barons for first (2-2 this season vs Saints, 2-1 vs Oil Barons).
Skarsen’s first shift memorable
Ben Skarsen made his AJHL debut in style on Sunday. Called up as an affiliate from the Lloyd Bobcats U18AAA squad, Skarsen scored a goal on his first shift at 4:04 of the first period, jamming away a puck loose at the side of the net.
The Bonnyville product certainly made the most of his first looks at the Junior A level.
Trey Funk scored his 9th goal of the season just over a minute later to give the Yaks an early 2-0 lead, but it didn’t last long, as Oil Barons captain Taige Harding cycled a puck from the blueline, then plopped himself in front, scoring to edge the game 2-1.
The second period featured lots of special teams, with the Yaks killing four penalties while having two powerplays themselves. With dying seconds in the second period and Bonnyville shorthanded, Nick Traggio laid down to block two shots, before a third blast caught him in the face.
The period ended early with blood pooled in front of the MOB net and Traggio required several stitches as the medical staffs from both teams worked together to assist the 20-year-old Brown University commit. He rode with the team on the bus back to Bonnyville after the game.
Aidyn Hutchinson replied with the equalizer four minutes into the third period leading to nervous, tense minutes in the third period, before Kimmen scored what turned out to be the gamewinner.
The Pontiacs are 1-2-2 in their last five games.
Meanwhile, the Pontiacs will be without their bench boss and assistant GM for Thursday’s contest. Rick Swan and Neil Langridge, along with the Yaks Director of Player Personnel Chad Nelson are heading to New England for a scouting trip. Bonnyville has five players from northeastern US on the team this year.