Bonnyville falls short to Whitecourt in back-to-back home games
The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs hosted the Whitecourt Wolverines in a double header weekend at the RJ Lalonde Arena. The Wolverines left town, the same way they came in, first seeded, in the Alberta Jr Hockey League (AJHL). Head coach of the Pontiacs, Rick Swan says the club will have to clean up their game if they’re going to take on a club like Whitecourt.
“These are reflective of a playoff game. Whitecourt is in first place, we may play these guys in the playoffs,” Coach says the team needs to stay in line to take on a power house team, like the Wolverines. “The team that is most disciplined, is usually the team that’s going to be on top.” In the first game, on Saturday the Pontiacs only saw two minutes of penalty time; whereas on Sunday, the boys sat out 25 minutes. “You can’t play in this league, with the amount of penalties that we took,” Coach Swan says he’ll really be driving home clean play to the squad over the next week. “I think our boys recognize that; but it’s enough talking about it. We did to show it through our actions and be a heck of a lot more disciplined.”
Debuting their third jerseys to the home crowd, the Bonnyville Pontiacs out shoot the Wolverine 43-25 on Saturday evening; however it was only enough to get two past Wolverine’s goalie, Pierce Diamond. Both goals in the first, Ryan Piche from Brendan Holterhus and Brandon Whistle at 8:29 and Isaac Saniga from Dylan Stewart and Luke Israel at 16:54. In between that the Wolverine’s Jaedon Leslie got a goal to end the first 2-1 in favour of the Pontiacs.
The second period was played out a lot in Whitecourt’s zone, where the Pontiacs fired 15 shots at Diamond. None strong enough to break through. The Woverine’s had six shots on Robert Jacobson, with one blowing past at 14:31, in the second, from Tanner Foster to tie up the game at 2-2.
The momentum carried the Wolverine’s into the third, where Mitch Lipon got an early goal a minute into the period. The visiting team held off another 10 shots and 19 minutes of hard action from the Pontiacs to take a 3-2 victory.
The Wolverines opened up the game on Sunday with a goal from Liam Motley at 4:23 in the first. Then advanced with a two goal lead at 17:37 from Nick Quillan, while Pontiacs’ Tyler Podgorenko was in the box for tripping. Ryan Piche had some revenge at 19:27, on the power play, when he put in a goal from Alden Dupuis and Jake Gresh, to make it a 2-1 game, at the close of the first.
The Wolverine’s started the second with a penalty, which lead to the Pontiacs tying it up with a goal from Derek Brown, a minute in, from Mitchell Oliver and Tyler Podgorenko. The tie lasted until 9:56, when Eric Krienke advanced Whitecourt to a 3-2 lead.
The Pontiacs would capture another power play goal, this time in the third, by Brendan Holterhus from PJ Marrocco to tie up the game. However, Whitecourt did not let the celly last long. They too took advance of a power play, when Joseph Nardi got the game winner at 12:51.
With the victory, Head Coach of the Whitecourt Wolverines, Gord Thibodeau became the winningest coach in the AJHL. Coach T, as he’s affectionately known in his organization, has tied the record of 832 wins with Don Phelps.
The Pontiacs take to the road again, with three games over the next week and return home February 10th, to take on the Sherwood Park Crusaders.