The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs have skated out of the weekend with one of four possible points, after hosting the Grande Prairie Storm and Whitecourt Wolverines. The Yaks were successful in keeping up with the Storm for 60 minutes of play, but could not get the winner in overtime. Whereas the club could not keep up with the Wolverines and lost 5-2 in regulation.
Game 1 vs Grande Prairie
PJ Marrocco continued his hot streak and recorded his second hat trick of the season. The AJHL player of the week, put in the first of two of three goal in the first period of play, after the Storm’s Parker Smyth got the first goal of the game. Captain of the Pontiacs, Charlie Gawlicki, says the team is coming together as of late, “everything we do out there is for the team. There’s lots of energy out there and lots of communication.”
Heading into the second period it was apparent the game was going to be close, with 13 to 12 shots on net, in favour of the Pontiacs. Grande Prairie would tie things up in the second, with a goal from Dallas Comeau, and continue that momentuem into the third with two goals in a row. It was a 4-2 game, for the Storm, with 10 minutes left in the game, when Marrocco got his hat trick, from Kirby Proctor and Nicholas Ormon. Bobby Young evened the game out with six minutes left on the clock, from Ryley Hogan and Adam Panacci, to force extra time.
The Storm didn’t take long to close out the game, with 2:23 into over time, Justin Bernier got the game winner for Grande Prairie. Head Coach and General Manager of the Bonnyville Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says he’s seeing growth in his team with every game, “first thing I saw out there, was improvement.” There were a lot of signs that indicate the Pontiacs are on their way to forming a really strong group, “with this young group, they’re responding so well to our coaching and we can improve on some of the break downs that allowed Grande Prairie to get five goals.”
Game 2 vs Whitecourt
The Pontiacs met the Whitecourt Wolverines in a Sunday afternoon match-up at the RJ Lalonde Arena. Despite the final score indicating a Wolverine domination, 5-2 over the Pontiacs, the Yaks were in the game for the full sixty recording 33 shots on net to the Wolverines’ 30. Penalties played a factor in the outcome, with the Wolverines advancing two power play goals in the game.
Jaedon Leslie recorded the only goal in the first period, taking the Wolverines into the second with 1-0 lead. The visiting club took advantage of a high-sticking penalty by Adam Sandstrom to gain a two-goal lead, thanks to Noah Tooke. Riley Smith closed some of the gap with the help of Charlie Gawlicki. However, the Wolverines opened it right back up with a goal from Brayden Labant to make it a 3-1 game for Whitecourt.
The third period saw much of the same action, a Wolverine sandwich. Whitecourt’s Tyr Thompson with a power play goal to start it off, followed by a Pontiacs’ goal, from Derek Brown, assists to PJ Marrocco and Kash Rasmussen. That was followed up by the final goal of the game, recorded by Ryley Smith of the Wolverines.
“First of all, I have to give it up to the Wolverines. They are the top in our league and what we hope to achieve,” Head Coach, Rick Swan, says the Pontiacs used Sunday’s match to really gauge where they stand in the AJHL, “you can’t allow us to play in our own building and have the Whitecourt Wolverines out play us. One of the staples that we need, as a young group, is to know it’s play to make mistakes – but we have to ensure our effort is bar done. And it wasn’t there off the start.”
There are some areas of improvement, the club will be focusing on, says the coach, “we could’ve had a little more push-back. We have been playing well, as of late, and the inconsistency, that we saw [in this game], is something we’re going to have to learn from.”
Again coach, gave praise to goalie, Sandro Silvestre, “Sandro’s been our MVP, every game. He’s given us an opportunity play, while we’re working on the lessons that will continue to help us grow. He’s the backbone of our team and allowed us to have success.”
The Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs will invite the Drayton Valley Thunder to the RJ Lalonde Arena on Friday. Puck drops at 7:30pm. WIN tickets to the game on Lakeland Connect, thanks to Lake City Coach & Rapid Response Energy Services.