Yaks Collect 3 Points over Weekend

The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs enjoyed collecting three points over the weekend to help maintain a playoff spot as they gear closer to the end of the regular season. The Yaks took on Whitecourt, Friday evening at the RJ Lalonde Arena, losing in a shootout 5-4. The club then traveled to Sherwood Park, where they took the Crusaders in a close 3-2 game.

Game 1 vs Whitecourt

Assistant Coach, for the Pontiacs, Neil Langridge referred to the series against the Wolverines as a “rubber match”. Both teams have seen success against one another, so it could go either way. “It’s a team that we’re planned fairly hard against in every contest this year.”

A first period goal from Brendan Morrow gave the Pontiacs an early lead on the visiting club. Carson Erhardt and Olson Werenka collected the apples on that one.

The second period kicked off with  Adam Sandstrom popping one past Whitecourt’s Xavier Potvin, with help from from Adam Panacci and Charlie Gawlicki. Panacci followed up his helper with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that would cost the club a goal, making it a 2-1 game for the Pontiacs 6:44 into the second. Bobby Young answered with a shorty from Zach Aston giving the Yaks another bounce ahead.  Spencer Bast would close the gap before the close of the second period. It was a 3-2 game. “We’ve got to minimize those penalties and stick to our game,” Young says to see success against Whitecourt the club with have to stick to their structure.

Minimizing penalties was tough on the young club,  Kirby Proctor and  Brendan Morrow got in a tossle with Whitecourt’s  Jacob Charko. All three taking a trip to the bin for roughing after the whistle, with Proctor getting an added 10 minute misconduct. There were not goals scored during that time, but just a minute later, the Wolverines carried the momentum and snuck one past Justin Travis.

The tie carried from the third into extra time and forced a shootout series.

Hayden Clayton Adam Sandstrom
Matthew Monk Kirby Proctor
Estian Coetzee Bobby Young

Wolverines took the game 5-4, with the Pontiacs capturing one point for the tie after regulation.

“It’s a frustrating team, because at times we proved that this is one of the top teams, in the North, that we’re able to beat,” Head Coach Rick Swan says it’s hard to watch the team give up a lead, “what allowed [the Wolverines] to get back in the game? Number one is penalties. We’re taking less of them, but teams are getting awfully good at this time of the year and it’s costing us.”

Game 2 vs Sherwood Park

“We have to have a short memory because we go right into Sherwood Park,” Coach Swan says the club is going to have to learn lessons from the previous night; but don’t allow too much focus on what could’ve been. A fresh mind is what’s needed Saturday night against the Crusaders and it helped the club secure a 3-1 win.

Even on the shots board 25 to 24, for the Pontiacs, it was a game of goalies and Bonnyville’s Justin Travis proved to be stronger.  Bobby Young and  Garin Butler scoring seconds apart in the first period for an early 2-0 lead. Taking the lessons learned from Friday the Pontiacs were able to keep their game clean and maintain their lead. Crusader’s Ryan Cox attempted to close the gap with a second period goal, but it was answered by  Adam Panacci before the close of the second. No score in the third gave the Yaks a 3-1 win over the Crusaders.

The Pontiacs are in action tonight in Whitecourt and stay on the road for Valentine’s Day in Grande Prairie. The club will return home Friday for a rematch against the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Puck drop is 7:30 pm at the RJ Lalonde Arena. You can catch exclusive player and coaches interviews on Lakeland Connect’s Facebook Page, thanks to Rapid Response Energy Services, Lake City Coach and Ducharme Motors – driving Lakeland Connect Everywhere!