Saturday , 17 April 2021

Pontiacs Prepare for Grande Prairie After Going Toe-to-Toe with Brooks

Lucas Thorne takes a shot Saturday against Brooks. Photo courtesy of Game Ready Photography

The Bonnyville Pontiacs will continue their homestand tonight against the Grande Prairie Storm.

The team is perhaps a little disappointed with the 4-3 OT loss Saturday night against the top ranked team in the CJHL Brooks Bandits. But they stood toe-to-toe with the southern leaders, and lead early and often in that contest too.

In overtime, Brooks took possession after the Pontiacs fumbled the puck, and Ryan Mahshie dangled his way through a pair of defenders and scored his second of the game to win.

It could’ve gone either way and the game had it all. Scoring. Physicality. Fights. Passion. It was a treat for the fans at the packed RJ Lalonde.

Newcomer Cayden Kraus continues to be the type of plucky addition that good teams seem to add. He scored along with Luke Albert and Grayson Constable, whose third period goal to put the Yaks up 3-2 nearly stood as the game-winner.

“I liked the effort for 60 minutes, and that’s what we’ve been trying to consistently try and achieve, a 60 minute effort, and I thought we did that tonight,” said Coach Rick Swan after the game.

But he, like many of the fans in attendance, wasn’t sure about the parade to the penalty box that was happening for both teams.

In the first two periods, there were 19 minor penalties and four major penalties combined. That meant the two fast-paced hockey clubs couldn’t quite find their flow at times, due to the consistent whistles.

“It was too bad because momentum at times  was taken away from both teams because of the penalties going on. But maybe the consistency of the calls that was being continually put out there…you really didn’t know what the standard of play was.”

“But I liked our buy-in and our overall sacrifice part of our game, and the work 200 feet tonight.”

Back to Business

While fans were treated to that potential championship preview, it’s back to business as usual on the Pontiacs slate, and the North Division is only bunching up tighter at the top.

By puckdrop tonight, the Pontiacs will be one point shy of the Sherwood Park Crusaders (36 pts), and the Spruce Grove Saints are only two behind (33 pts).

Grande Prairie was riding a ten game point streak to start October until they faced the Pontiacs three weeks ago and let six goals by them in the first 26 minutes, to eventually lose 6-2.

Since then, the Storm were beaten up by the other North leaders Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove. They limp into Bonnyville tonight with one win in their last six, after a 3-2 loss to the Canmore Eagles on Friday.

The Storm have a lot of speed and skill though, and will not be a walk-over.

The Drayton Valley Thunder (8-14-1) will come to town Saturday, before the Camrose Kodiaks (10-8-3) pay the Yaks a visit a week from today to close the homestand.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.