In the middle of a nine game exhibition season, the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs will be making some pretty tough cuts to finalize their line-up. Assistant Coach, of the Pontiacs, Neil Langridge, says the team has already thinned out quite a bit.
“We’re done to 30 players, from 60 at training camp,” with training camp only a week and a half ago, that means that Langridge and the rest of the coaching staff, Head Coach Rick Swan and Associate Coach Larry Draper, have been making some decisive moves. “The exhibition has been fantastic, really. We were a little worried with eight games on the schedule. But we have some decisions to make and all these games are showing us is that we can confirm our decisions a lot easier.” The team is down to 17 forwards, 10 defense and 3 goalies. The goal would be to take that down to 15 forwards, eight defense and two goaltenders.
In the process, the team has made a substantial trade, Mitch Oliver will be moving to Alberni Valley Bulldogs in return for Lucas Thorne. “I had a chance to see him last winter, when I went down to the New England area,” Langridge says the forward caught his eye, “he comes from a program, St. Andrews College in Ontario, it’s a very high-end school. He got into the line up [Monday] in North Battleford. We’re very happy so far. He had a great game and he’s going to be exactly what we had hoped for; a high-end player with great vision.”
The team is 2 and 3 during the exhibition season, losing two in overtime to rivals, the Lloydminster Bobcats, winning one against Lloydminster and splitting home and homes to North Battleford. “We’ve had a few bumps and bruises, which is one of the reasons why we still have [as many players as we do]. We’re taking these next two games to measure their team versus ours,” Langridge says there’s still some wounds to be healed against their upcoming opposition, the Ft. McMurray Oil Barons. The Fort Mac team was responsible for the end of the Pontaics 2017 playoff run. “We know they knocked us out last year, so we’re going to make sure we’re in a better spot and right the ship. We’ll use it as a measuring tool, for sure.”
The Pontiacs travel to Fort McMurray tonight for two games at the Casman Centre, then to Lloydminster’s Civic Centre, before returning home for regular season opening match against the Lloydminster Bobcats, September 15th at 7:30 pm. WIN tickets to regular season Pontiacs games, thanks to Lake City Coach & Ducharme Motors on Lakeland Connect!