If there’s been one team that’s been giving the Bonnyville Pontiacs trouble, it’s the Sherwood Park Crusaders. The Pontiacs have yet to be successful against the Crusaders, having lost on October 30th and 20th 4-1, as well as in September on the 20th 5-1. Riding off of some great momentum from Sunday’s win against the Fort Mac Oil Barons, the club travels to Sherwood Park Friday and are hungry to bring home a big W.
Associate Coach Larry Draper says team did amazing this past weekend without three top veterans Bobby McMann, Josh Borynec or Captain Steen Pasichnuk, all out due to injuries. “Our young guys did a fantastic job of competing and battling. They played every shift like it was their last to win the hockey game.”
The whole team is starting to come around – Larry Draper
Young netminder, Josh Williams was between the pipes Sunday and performed beyond expectations, says Draper. “Young fella that hasn’t played a lot was fantastic on Sunday. He’s a big part of our hockey team and because of this performance on the weekend, he’s probably going to be given more minutes going forward. Coach will make that decision sometime this week, I’m sure Josh Williams will get more minutes because of his performance this weekend.”
The Pontiacs picked up Josh Williams and Oliver Charest this season, both have been performing well beyond expectations, says Draper. “It’s great to have two fantastic goalies. Oliver has played a lot and play well for us, and it’s nice to see Josh play well for us on Sunday too.”
To prepare for Sherwood Park, Draper says the team will be running drills and watching game footage. “We’ll do some video, and we know what [the Crusaders] do. We’ll run our practices to prepare the boys for Sherwood Park. Lots of communication.”
One of the ways the coaches teach the team communication is through team reading. It’s an exercise Coach Rick Swan has seen a lot of success through. Swan will find an article he believes will unite and motivate the team. He’ll have each player take turns reading a line of the article, by the end of the season the team’s communication is in sync and smooth. Draper has witnessed first-hand the success of this practice and has already seen improvements in the team’s unity this season.
We’re ecstatic, the team right now is a team –Larry Draper
The injured list has grown one since Sunday, along with McMann, Borynec, and S. Pasichnuk, Zach Mills is also out with an upper body injury. Draper says the injured veterans are ready to get back to the team and are very proud of what the rookies have accomplished in their absence. “The veterans are happy with how the young guys performed on the weekend, and we’re [the coaches] are thinking, when the vets get back, how good is this team going to be? We’re all looking forward to it.”
The team’s Athletic Therapist, Tara Cook, has been working with the injured and has the ultimate say as to when they are ready to get back on the ice. The injured have been skating with the squad during practices, wearing white jerseys with an ‘X’ marker to let the other members of the team know not to check or hit those players. They are on light-duty if you will until Cook gives the go-ahead. Many are hopeful that will be in time for Fridays game, you can check bonnyvillepontiacs.com for updated injured status.
The Pontiacs travel to Sherwood Park for a 7:00 pm game, then return home for Saturday at 7:30 pm versus the Calgary Canucks. Win tickets to Pontiac home games by entering online: