The Sr. AA Pontiacs are provincial gold medalist! The team played host to the Alberta AA Men’s Hockey Provincials over the weekend and after winning the round robin, secured a spot in the gold medal game; the team captured the win with a 6-2 final over the Elk Point Elks.
It wasn’t an easy feat for the Pontiacs, the team had entered the tournament as the hosts, rather than the North Central Men’s AA Hockey League Champs. That title went to Daysland.
The Pontiacs played out their first game of the weekend Friday evening, against the Wainwright Rustlers, the Sask Alta Men’s A Hockey League champions. The club pulled out a 5-2 win over the Rustlers, with Dallas Desjarlais, Mike Desjarlais, Tanner Corbail, and Troy Dumais (x2) scoring.
“We didn’t know how the guys were going to come out, after being eliminated from the playoffs,” Head Coach for the Pontiacs, Brad Paice, said he was impressed with the team’s determination during the game.
“It was the first shot, right out of the gate, we scored,” the goal by Dallas Desjarlais really propelled the team and set the tone for the game. “That built up the momentum and we rode that, right to the end of the game.
In the second match, the team faced the Nanton Palominos. A game that would be heavy in penalty minutes, 50 minutes between the two clubs spent in the sinbin.
Assistant Coach, Corey Wandler, said the team is going to have to stay sharp, “with the right mindset and willing to bring it to the next level. We have to elevate a little more and leave everything out there.
The Pontiacs kept to their cool, even among a dirty third period and secured the win, 4-1
Team Captain, Lucas Isley, put in two of the four goals, with Devon Kalinski, and Mike Desjarlais getting singles.
Gold Medal Game
The club found themselves up against another local team, the Elk Point Elks. The Elks were a wild card selection, from the Sask Alta Senior Men’s League. The team had also gone undefeated to make the gold medal game.
“It’s an important day,” said Wandler, “it’s about the players and the town. It’s 65 years of celebration, of a great hockey club, and it all comes down to a 60 minute hockey game.”
The Sr. Pontiacs honoured their 65th anniversary with the 2017-18 season, “we can make a memory last for a long time and make a community proud.”
With the weight of expectations on their shoulders, Wandler said the team is still focused on the small things. “It’s one shift, and one period. The small stuff and step one is to get a first period win.”
The team was successful in winning the first 20 minutes by putting up two goals. One each from Lucas Isley and Mike Desjarlais.
Lucas Isley would go on to celebrate a hat trick in the second period, with Mike Desjarlais putting in another goal.
The Elks saw success in the second period, putting in two goals, one each from Kam Ballas and Myles Whitford. It was a 5-2 hockey game after 40 minutes.
In the final period of the play, the Pontiacs put another goal in. This time from Ty Carey. Game over, 6-2 final. Pontiacs in the gold.
“This was the goal coming into the season,” Head Coach Brad Paice, laughs that the club achieved their goal, even with “coming in the back door.”
“We were ready, right from the puck drop. We knew we couldn’t take Elk Point lightly, they didn’t win their league and neither did we. They didn’t let a goal in all tournament. We knew we had to be ready,” Paice said he was impressed with how determined the team was for the win.
“All throughout the year, we had guys taking sacrifices. Taking time off work to make the games. We had the same core group of guys and it was a great year,” Paice said.
The club secured some impressed tournament stats:
- Captain Lucas Isley took the top point-getter and scorer of the weekend, 7 & 5 respectively.
- Mike Desjarlais had the second best points and goals, at 5 & 4 respectively.
- Devon Kalinski was forth in points and third in assists, with 4 & 3 respectively.
- Dennis Cadrin and Tanner Corbeil held the top and second spot for assist, with 4 & 3 respectively.