Saturday , 26 September 2020

The Almost Comeback Kids

Pontiacs rally to close a 4-0 gap, but it wasn’t enough to win the game

The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs suffered their first loss of the season to the Spruce Grove Saints last night at the RJ Lalonde Arena, 5-4. A poor showing in the first period cost the club the win, says Head Coach Rick Swan.

“I was disappointed in our preparation,” explains Coach Swan, “it’s not acceptable for us to not respect the game and the privilege enough to wear the uniform.” The scoring opened quick for Spruce Grove’s Parker Saretsky who got the first goal of the game at 3:03 in the first from Tanner Hickey. The Yaks held the Saints off until 15:29 when Brett Smythe got an unassisted shorthanded goal to make it a 2-0 game. Things continued to unravel for the Pontiacs with two more goals from the Saints before the end of the first 20 minutes. Conner Lukan on the power play at 19:00 from Ian Mitchell and just 15 seconds later Parker Saretsky from Logan Ganie and Cody Young.

Down 4-0 heading into the second, the Pontiacs really had to turn things around. “I’m okay with the last 40 minutes,” Coach Swan must’ve gave an epic speech to rally the troops in the locker room because the club came back strong. Erik Donald was the first to answer back with a goal at 5:46 in the second. from Derek Brown. Followed by a power play goal from the Yaks’ leading point-getter, PJ Marrocco from Donald and Ryan Piche.  “The compete and the work ethic are never questioned, that’s a staple of our hockey club,” although greatly disappointed with the first period and the reflection it gave on the organization, Coach Swan says he was happy the squad was able to turn it around.

The Pontiacs continued to close the gap with a 4-2 game heading into the third. “Our veterans and our captains need to make sure that they are giving the right mentorship to our young guys who are learning how to play in this league. They need to make sure they are teaching them what it takes to be successful.” Rookie Evan Katelnikoff must’ve been given some of that advice Coach Swan is talking about, because he put up a goal at 2:10 from Luke Israel to make it a 4-3 game. With the crowd erupting, looking for a victory, the Pontiacs tied it up with a goal from the veterans,  Alden Dupuis with the assists to Donald and Captain Ryan Symington on the power play at 14:35.

The efforts would unfortunately be lost, as the Spruce Grove Saints’ TJ Lloyd put in an unassisted shorty to close the game 5-4.

“We played four games in five days. Now we’ve never been an organization that doesn’t want to use excuses; but you seen how we responded in the last forty, it was strictly a matter of our guys not making sure that they respected the privilege of wearing the jersey and utilizing game day to make sure that they are prepared,” Coach Swan says he and the coaching staff have a five day practice run fit into the next week to go over key mistakes and preparation techniques. “That’s a good lesson for us. As a coach that’s here to be able to provide opportunities for our kids, they have to know that to be a Bonnyville Pontiac that that type of preparation is not okay.”

The Pontiacs are on the road and back in action Wednesday, September 28th in Fort McMurray. The squad won’t return to the RJ until October 7th.

About Jena Colbourne