The Pontiacs performed very well at the AJHL Showcase Weekend, October 2nd-4th in Camrose, AB. Assistant Coach, Larry Draper, says the team is very pleased with the outcome after beating the Okotoks Oilers 2-0 and then taking the Calgary Canucks 6-1.
The Pontiacs’ new goalie Oliver Charest is one of the pivotal factors in the Yaks change of pace as of late, says Draper, “Charest played outstanding.” It’s not just the addition of Charest that’s changing things for the boys, who started the season 1-3-1, “when we turned the puck over in some bad areas, the team did a good job defending.”
It shows how far the team has come able to take on Okotoks, who is traditionally a strong team in the south. Calgary also has a large draw and a strong team, which didn’t intimidate the Pontiacs. The game against the Canucks had some firsts for the boys, 17-year-old Josh Borynec scored his first goal as a Bonnyville Pontiacs, “the bench erupted,” describes Draper. Then Brinson Pasichnuk got a hat trick, “everybody’s happy in Pontiac land.”
The Canucks beat Fort McMurray at the showcase on the Friday, Draper says this is a good indicator for tonight’s match-up against the Oil Barons, “they beat Fort Mac 4-1, that bodes well for our game today. If our guys are prepared properly, and that comes from within, then we have a pretty good chance of winning another hockey game.”
The Pontiacs met Fort Mac last week, taking that game 4-2 and are gearing up to get on the bus and travel up north for a repeat win, Draper says the leadership on the team has been phenomenal, “Steen Pasichnuk, Bobby McMann, Alden Dupius, Ryan Symington, and Brinson Pasichnuk, all our leadership group is doing a great job with this team. The culture that we’ve been trying to integrate into our program, has finally come to fruition. The players have bought into it and it’s starting to show on the ice.”
“It makes it a lot easier on a coach,” chuckles Draper, “when everybody is on the same page. We feel that we have lots of potential to discover. We’re finding that the players are helping us discover their potential, that’s big. That means the coaching staff has the pulse of the team and we’re all working together and pulling together.”
It’s looking good for rookie goalie Oliver Charest to become the starter for the team, Draper explains the team’s other goalie, also a rookie Josh Williams has been pulling his own, “playing well against Fort McMurray and against the Canucks.”
The bus departs Bonnyville around noon, puck drops tonight in Fort Mac at 7:30 pm.
Saturday the boys return to the RJ to take on Drumheller, a team that has proven to be really strong in the south. Draper says this’ll be a good indicator of what’s next for the Yaks. Puck drop is 7:30 pm