The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs fell short this weekend, 6-2 Friday, at home, versus the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and 5-4 Saturday, on the road, versus the Whitecourt Wolverines. “There’s some frustrations, no question. None other than me,” Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs, Rick Swan, “we have to make sure that we respond to the challenge of making sure that we strive for excellence. No one expects anyone to be perfect, but we have to make sure striving for excellence is more under our control.”
Game 1 vs Fort McMurray
The Pontiacs opened the game strong with a quick goal,less than a minute into the game, from rookie Brendan Morrow, with Riley Smith on the assist. Lucas Thorne followed it up, with a crowd pleasing power play beaut from Nicholas Ormon and Kirby Proctor, to give the Yaks an early 2-0 lead over the Oil Barons. The Pontiacs could not maintain the lead through the first period, allowing two goals from the visiting Fort Mac club; Reed Morison and Will Conley with the goals.
“Our start was exactly where we needed to be with two quick goals,” Head Coach Rick Swan says the second period was truly the test and the turning point for the game, “the latter part of the second period is where we allowed ourselves to take our foot off the gas and create some cracks in our game”. Coach Swan has been preaching to the boys that consistency is the key to winning hockey games, “49 minutes isn’t good enough, 51 minutes isn’t good enough… we allowed our cracks to occur because we didn’t make sure we played a 60 minute game.”
Oil Baron’s Reed Morison put in a questionable short-handed goal, at 16:35, in the second. With the ref’s approval on the point, that would be where the game unfolded for the Pontiacs. Unable to shake it off and come back after the zamboni cleared the memories for the third, the Yaks would allow three goals in the third; two of which on the power play. Scoring for the Oil Barons, JC Thivierge, Will Conley and Reed Morison, making it a 6-2 final.
Game 2 vs Whitecourt
It was a game of battle back, for the Pontiacs, on Saturday, as the club dropped four goals in the first to the Wolverines. Again, the penalty kill got the team in trouble with two of the four early goals coming off the power play. The Pontiacs responded in the second with three goals; Adam Panacci, Kash Rasmussen, and Adam Sandstrom all scoring, taking the game to 4-3 in favour of Whitecourt.
With just 34 seconds on the clock, in the third, Brendan Morrow from Bobby Young and Bekkam Willis put in the tie and the Pontiacs closed the 4-0 lead the Wolverines had put up. The celebration was much-deserved, though short-lived; Wolverine’s Liam Motley put in the go-ahead, at 10:11. The point would never be answered by the Pontiacs, leaving the game at a 5-4 final.
“These guys are Junior A hockey players, they’re going to make mistakes. Our 60 minute complete game, if we lose we lose, but we all gotta make sure [we’re playing the full] 60 minutes and we’re responding to that,” Coach Swan explains it was another inconsistent game, with mistake that took the team to the penalty box and eventually had them fighting to get back into the game the whole way. “We need a commitment to ourselves that we’re going to be better.”
The club has four days to clean up their game, before the Whitecourt Wolverines visit the RJ Lalonde Arena. Puck drop 7:30 pm, on Friday. Catch exclusive player & coach interviews on Lakeland Connect, thanks to Lake City Coach, Rapid Response Energy Services & Ducharme Motors.