The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs met two of their toughest competitors over the weekend, on the road, and came home with a win and a loss. Both games were close, Friday night in Lloyd the Yaks fell short by one goal, 3-2 final score and Saturday in Spruce Grove the team took it to a shootout to win, 3-2 over the Saints. Head Coach of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says he was pleased with the effort put in by the team.
“Great response to the challenge that we gave them,” Coach Swan explains one of the coaching techniques he employs is giving his players specific goals to work on for each game. “Take each game and treat it as a playoff moment, because playoffs have to start now. Especially in the North Division, teams are going to be extremely tough and we have to be dialed in for the full 60 minutes.”
After a full 20 minutes of no action on the board, the Lloydminster Bobcats were the first to record a goal on Friday night at the Civic Centre. Kevin Darrar from Morgan Messenger put one in at 6:17 in the second. Messenger would be on the score sheet again in 4 minutes at 11:29 when he and Kris Spriggs assisted Troy Van Tetering in putting one in behind Olivier Charest.
After a meeting in the room while the zamboni took some laps, the Yaks came back strong in the third. At 1:16, Captain Steenn Pasichnuk recorded the first point, for the Pontiacs, from Ryan Piche and Brinson Pasichnuk. The Bobcats answered back at 8:43, when Kevin Darrar scored from Christian Lloyd and Connor Odelein. The Pontiacs would be the last to score in the evening, however it wouldn’t be enough to take their rivals. At 12:19, Bryan Gerstenfeld got a power play goal from Alden Dupuis.
It’s going to come down to the one-on-one battles and it’s gonna come down to them versus us. Certainly, our guys took that to heart. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
Spruce Grove the following evening would prove to be another hard-fought game, where the players had to make the most out of every single shift. Coach Swan says he could see the team realizing it’s the little moments that make the game.
The Yaks opened the scoring on Saturday, quickly, 1:38 in the first Gen Bryshun got an unassisted goal. The boys held off the Saints for the remaining 18 minutes and 22 seconds to take the period 1-0. In the second the Saints were the sole point-getters at 10:33 Colton Leiter tied it up from Riley Simpson and Ryan Cox. The Saints took the lead 4:39 in the third with a goal from Conner Lukan off Ian Mitchell and Josh Harris. But it was the Pasichnuk brothers who tied the game on a power play, big bro Steen would score at 14:59 with little brother Brinson getting the assist.
“They played a real solid third period, they came back from adversity when we were down by one. Eventually, we were able to play the clock, which allowed us to get the success that we were able to get today,” explains Coach Swan. “If we stick to what we do well, in terms of our framework of our structure, we’re gonna do good things. If you do good things, you’re going to be rewarded.”
For the first time, in a number of years, our players are not intimidated. They certainly respect The Spruce Saints and all the top teams, but this team here, with the character that we’ve got… We’ve got some swagger. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
The Pontiacs return to the RJ Friday night to take on the Whitecourt Wolverines, at 7:30 pm. Win tickets on LCN