In their first game of the new year, the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs fell 4-2 to the visiting Spruce Grove Saints. “There’s a lot of positives going on here”, Head Coach of the Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says there’s always something you can take away from the game, “this was a good measuring stick, from where we are, because last time we played the Spruce Grove Saints, the score wasn’t nearly as close. Both from a performance aspect and a scoreboard aspect”.
The Saints opened up the evening with a goal, from Tyson Gruninger, at 2:02 in the first. It took some time, but the Yaks were able to respond before the end of the period. On the power play, with just over a minute left in the period, Lucas Thorne put in the tie, from Adam Sandstrom and Bekkam Willis.
I’m not always worried about points, as long as I’m getting out there and doing what I can do to help the team win. That’s all that matters. – Lucas Thorne Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs.
Spruce Grove took a two-goal lead in the second, with goals from Logan Ganie and Nick Leyer. The Pontiacs were able to close the gap some in the third, with a goal from Garin Butler (assist from Adam Sandstrom and Bekkam Willis). The Saints responded before the close if the game, at 18:21, when Cam Mitchel made it a 4-2 final.
“We had a difficult time staying consistent for 60 minutes,” Coach Swan says without that consistency the team was unable to maintain their structure and identity. “We want to play with pace, we want to be relentless, we want to play hardnosed and put pressure everywhere on teams.” One of the elements to executing those goals is playing short 30 second shifts, “that way you can have energy through the bench and create momentum on the bench. You can also play assertively and create an identity.” It was too long of shifts in the second period that cost the game, explains the coach, “we have guys out there, that are fatigued.”
The Pontiacs are home Firday to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Game time is 7:30 pm at the RJ Lalonde Arena. You can catch exclusive player and coach interviews on Lakeland Connect’s Facebook Page, @lakelandconnect, thanks to Lake City Coach & Rapid Response Energy Services.