Yaks Split Weekend

Justin Travis records second shut out win with the Yaks.

Photo Credit: Game Ready Photography

Fresh off some moves during the AJHL trade deadline, the Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs were on fire on Friday night, lighting it up for the home crowd. Newly promoted to starting goaltender, Justin Travis recorded his second shut out with the club, with a 4-0 win over the Whitecourt Wolverines. The following evening, the club traveled to Drayton Valley falling 3-2 to the Thunder.

“The future looks very bright for the Bonnyville Pontiacs,” Assistant Coach, Neil Langridge says the club is ready to take on the remainder of the year without top scorer, Derek Brown or Sandro Silvestre between the pipes. “We’re going to be leaning on our youth. The youth is very exciting for this team; it’s going to be built by committee. For us building this team we know we need all four lines of offense. We’re slowing achieve that and these guys are buying into it.” Langridge says fans can expect a well-rounded team with talents on every line.

Game 1 vs Whitecourt

The youth answered the call early, with  Bobby Young putting in the first goal for the Pontiacs at 5:35 in the first from Joel Ray. Ten minutes later we’d see Young again, this time assisting  Luke Albert on the Pontiacs’ second goal of the evening. The Yaks headed into the second with a clean 2-0 lead over the Wolverines.

The Pontiacs carried on strong into the second period with a power play goal from Lucas Thorne, with Bekkam Willis and Isaac Saniga on the assist. Things flipped around for goal number four, when the Wolverine’s goalie made a move to capture the puck behind the net. Isaac Saniga, with fast legs, picked up the left behind nugget with help from Lucas Thorne and popped that baby into the net. It was a 4-0 game heading into the third.

The Yaks held tight during the last 20 minutes of play; keeping the Wolverines off the board and importantly keeping themselves out of trouble in the box. The Pontiacs saw only two minutes of penalty times in the third period, helping them secure a 4-0 win.

Game 2 vs Drayton Valley

“The trade deadline is gone and the guys recognize that they are in. There’s no more players coming in, there’s them as a group and collectively as a group we will create success,” Head Coach of the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs, Rick Swan, says fans will enjoy the second half of the season with a new attitude from the Pontiacs’. “They all have to contribute and work hard every single night with opportunities they may not have been given before.”

In the second game of the weekend, the club started out with some bad habits, Luke Albert taking a ten minute penalty for a blow to the head, allowed for the Thunder to put in the first goal of the game; from  Marc-Antoine Benoit. The club would see two more head to the box, Riley Smith (two minutes high sticking) and  Olson Werenka (two minutes slashing). The message at intermission must have been to clean it up; because the team came out and played a success and clean second period.

Staying out of the box for 20 minutes, allowed for the Yaks to maintain consistent pressure on DV.  Bobby Young put one to the back of the net early from Adam Panacci. The goal was followed up by two from the Thunder to make it a 3-1 game at the end of 40 minutes.

Continuing with their clean game play, the Pontiacs were able to close the gap with a power play goal from  Lucas Thorne and Riley Smith on the assist. The Yaks maintain the pressure and pulled goaltender, Justin Travis for the last minute and a half of play. The move would not be successful, as the Pontiacs fell 3-2 to Drayton Valley.

“What was the turning point, that made this team play with so much passion?” asks Coach Swan, “it’s because we made the right choice. The players made a choice and recognized that they want to be Jr. A hockey players and kudos to them!”

The Pontiacs head to Spruce Grove on Wednesday, before hosting Camrose and Brooks at home on Friday and Saturday (respectively). You can catch exclusive player and coach interviews on Lakeland Connect’s Facebook Page, thanks to Lake City Coach, Rapid Response Energy Services and Ducharme Motors.