Alex Power scored his second goal of the game in overtime and Matt Hennessey made 23 saves as the Bonnyville Pontiacs earned an emotional 5-4 come from behind win Saturday night on the road against the Drumheller Dragons.
The Yaks were on a 6-on-4 powerplay with a little over a minute left, when extra attacker Austin Saint was able to jam home a Nick Traggio point shot for the equalizer with 67 seconds left in regulation.
As assistant coach Neil Langridge explained in the postgame, it was a big opportunity for the Pontiacs to respond. The night before against the AJHL’s top team in the Brooks Bandits, the Yaks were overwhelmed in an 8-3 loss.
“I thought our club responded well, they responded the right way, and they never strayed away from the gameplan and that’s what is so crucial,” said Langridge.
“I can’t compliment the group enough tonight for sticking to the game plan, and we rolled those four lines all night, and they came through and scored a big goal. Austin Saint, I knew he was going to be hungry, he was hungry all night, and that’s how he needs to be. We put him out as the 6th man and next thing you know it’s in the back of the net and we tie it up late.”
Power and Saint are tied for the team lead in goals with 21 apiece, currently 9th and 10th overall in the AJHL, respectively.
In Friday night’s marquee matchup, the Pontiacs just couldn’t get themselves into the game, surrendering three first period goals. The Bandits Zach Bookman’s multi-point game already sees the 19-year-old defenceman breaking Cale Makar’s single-season record with several games left.
The Pontiacs couldn’t get a save at times and also gave up three goals when shorthanded. Kash Rasmussen, Sebastian Tamburro, and Charlie Russell each potted their 13th goal of the season in the losing effort.
Bonnyville remains in 3rd place in the North Division, trailing Fort McMurray by three points for second, and Spruce Grove by seven points.
On Wednesday, Bonnyville can make up some ground against Spruce Grove when they host the Saints. The season-series is currently tied 2-2 after the Yaks won their most recent matchup on Nov. 30.
Yaks acquire Hipkin
Adding to their team during the weekend, the Pontiacs acquired Cole Hipkin via the Collingwood Blues of the Ontario Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations, they announced on social media on Sunday evening.
Hipkin is already committed to St. Lawrence University in the NCAA Division I, becoming the seventh Pontiac on the roster to be committed.
“Cole Hipkin is an NCAA Division I St. Lawrence University Saint commitment. He skates extremely well, has impressive instincts on both sides of the puck, and is a complete 200 foot player who is your prototypical power forward in every sense,” said Coach and General Manager Rick Swan in a press release.
“He’s also a great character individual who will be an immediate impact to our community and team. We know there was a lot of interest in Cole and we are beyond excited to welcome him to the Pontiacs.”
The Pontiacs can no longer make any trades with CJHL and BCHL teams because the roster deadline passed on Jan. 10.