A hard-fought affair at the RJ Lalonde Arena
photo credit: @bpontiacsjra Debra Kaban
The Bonnyville Pontiacs played the first of two matches against the Drayton Valley Thunder Friday evening at the RJ Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville. Head Coach of the Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says the match, which ended in a 4-2 decision for the Pontiacs, was a “hard-fought affair.”
“Our guys showed more composure, than I’ve seen any team in five years. There was lots of physical play out there, that our guys turned a blind-eye to, just to ensure the discipline was where it was needed.” There was a lot of time spent in the penalty box, 32 minutes for the Pontiacs, with a 10 minute misconduct handed down to Brendan Holterhus. Drayton Valley was no stranger to the box on Saturday either. The Thunder spent 24 minutes behind closed gates with Max Salpeter getting half of that time for a high-sticking that lead to a scuffle with Holterhus and a 10 minute misconduct for the DV player. “They battled through a lot of hard physical play by Drayton Valley,” states the coach.
The Pontiacs opened the scoring with seconds left on a power play off a Drayton Valley penalty for delaying the game. The veteran line up of Alden Dupuis and Ryan Symington helped Brandon Whistle put one in at 1:29 in the first. Derek Brown waited a good eight minutes before laying a beauty past DV’s goalie Joseph McLeod, thanks to the assistance of Trygve Many Guns. The Thunder would end the period with a goal at 15:12 from Tyler Benko, to make it a 2-1 game heading into the second, for the Pontiacs. “Drayton Valley is a hard-working team, and our guys had a lot of resilience in that respect,” Coach Swan says he was proud of the team’s ability to out score DV in the first, despite the fact the Pontiacs were out-shot by the Thunder 15-6.
Onto the second, where the Pontiacs were not only the shots leaders 17-10 over the Thunder, they were also the goal leaders. Isaac Saniga from Carter Rhine and Jared Power started off the second with a power play goal at 6:29. Followed by a goal from Ryan Piche with the assists to Ludvig Adamsen and Jake Gresh at 16:43.
A 4-1 game heading into the third, the Yaks let up one goal at 4:03 from Matt Benko to end things 4-2. “There were too many penalties for my liking and too many shots; but those are fixable things for us,” says the coach. The Drayton Valley Thunder ended the game with 34 shots to the Pontiacs 38.
Tonight was a good example of the character and discipline that’s required in order to be able to have a successful team. – Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
“You get a little bit of a rivalry, you get some players that start to dislike each other a little bit – on both sides.” Coach Swan says the penalty count has a lot to do with meeting the same club multiple times in a short period of time, “rivalries are good things, but we need to focus on what we do well; that’s the most important thing. We know they are going to compete hard and work hard; but the Bonnyville Pontiacs need to stick with their success staples.”
If we move pucks and we skate, we’re a pretty darn good hockey team! -Rick Swan Head Coach Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs
These two clubs will meet again tonight at the RJ Lalonde Arena in Bonnyville for a 7:30 game. WIN tickets to home Pontiacs’ games on LCN.