“We got the win, it wasn’t pretty… but we got it,” assistant coach of the Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs, Corey Wandler, says the team dropped a major lead to have to battle in overtime on Saturday, against the Devon Barons. The Pontiacs skated away with the 9-8 win in overtime, but they never should’ve needed the extra time, explains Wandler.
“We had a good first ten minutes in the first. We scored three quick goals and had a 3-0 lead,” Wandler says the club took the lead into the second, where the Barons closed the gap a little with a goal. That was followed with a Pontiac goal to make it 4-1. “Eventually, we were up 6-2 in the second, then we kinda took our foot off the gas, in the second and let them catch up,” there were a few bad penalties that contributed to the gap closure, says Wandler. “We kinda got sloppy and they climbed back and tied it up 6-6.”
“We had a session in the second intermission. Let the guys know that the play in the second period was pretty unacceptable for the caliber of play that we’re capable of and what’s expected. When you see plays where we’re careless with the puck, poor defensively, and not really playing with a sense of urgency… You don’t want that and we don’t want to pick up bad habits or play the game that way,” the Sr Pontiacs have high standards, explains Wandler. “We take a period off, we have to have some accountability. That’s what we addressed going into the third.”
“I thought our game was better, in third. We had better effort.” Despite the effort, the Barons took the lead for a while in the third, 8-6, with about 5 minutes left in the game. “We gave up six unanswered goals. It was getting pretty ugly. We got a power play and scored on the power play and in the last minute we scored to tie to force overtime.”
Dallas Desjarlais scored the game winner with a nice play, Wandler describes the goal, “he took the puck wide in the defensive zone and got a shot off, beating the goal low stick side. It was nice to see one of our rookie players get through.”
“It was one of those nights, we’re up 5-1 at one point and just took the foot off the gas. In this league, you can’t do that,” Wandler says it was a good learning experience for the club.
The team has the next weekend off and are on the road until November 25th. Their home opener, against Eckville, is scheduled for 7:30 pm at the RJ Lalonde Arena.