Saturday , 24 July 2021

Sr. Pontiacs can’t hang on to third period lead, fall 8-7 to Devon

Pontiacs forward Denis Cadrin tries to feed the puck into the slot during the third period of their game against Devon on Saturday.

Matt Sorochan scored with 35 seconds left to negate great performances from forward Denis Cadrin and goaltender Calvin Giese on Saturday night, as the Devon Barons beat the Bonnyville Sr. A Pontiacs 8-7.

The Pontiacs were able to ice 16 skaters for the game after forfeiting last weekend’s contest against the Red Deer Rustlers due to a lack of bodies.

The Yaks held a 6-2 lead midway through the second period before the Barons chipped away and eventually made the game level at 7-7 with five minutes remaining.

That’s when Sorochan, Barons team point leader, swooped out of the penalty box, cut in on Giese and scored the winner.

Coach Corey Wandler said the team had some offense early, but was gassed by the third period.

“I thought we started the game well, we had our legs going and were able to create a lot of turnovers and scoring chances. We had 17 shots in the first and we had a lead….then we took a couple shifts off, they got a powerplay goal and then we had a two-goal lead going into the third, which is a tough lead to keep in senior hockey, and we chipped away,” said Wandler.

“We restored the two-goal lead. But a couple of bonehead plays with the puck, not keeping onto it with possession, allowing them to break out 3-on-2 with odd-man rushes, and there were some penalty troubles near the end, we had a couple guys in the box for 10-minute misconducts and we were gassed. We were just trying to hold on for the win and the two points. But with an experienced club like Devon, we were the first team to crack,” he said.

It’s an opportunity missed for the Pontiacs who still sit two points behind the Whitecourt Wild for 8th in the North Central Hockey League. Their record is now 2-12 on the season.

Denis Cadrin extended his team points lead with four goals and an assist. He found chemistry with linemates Ty Carey (one goal, three assists) and Adam Tilford (one assist) in the first and second periods, carrying the load offensively for the Yaks along with defenseman Dru Morrison (one goal, two assists).

“We gave this one away. We had our opportunities and chances to close it out, and we just didn’t manage the puck well late in the game. We weren’t smart with it when we had it. This group has to find ways to close things out. But we’ll move from it and hopefully, we’ll be better,” said Wandler.

Giese stops 47 shots

Calvin Giese faced a ton of rubber, as usual. He made 47 total saves with a bunch of beauties on two-on-ones and breakaways.

“He’s been to every practice, every game. He’s been our most dedicated player. Really, he’s the backbone of this group. He’s kicked for us all season, facing 45 to 65 shots on a nightly basis. He gives us an opportunity every night,” said Wandler.

“I felt bad for him on the tying goal. It’s just a shot that went through about five bodies, he didn’t even see it over his shoulder, but you got to give him a lot of credit. He is one of our most dedicated players.”

The Pontiacs have two more games before the season wraps up. Next Saturday, they travel to Morinville to battle the Kings (10-3-2), before finishing the year at home Sunday night against the Westlock Warriors.

They will need three points to move into the last playoff position, and Whitecourt to lose their game against the Daysland Northstars.

Devon moved their record to 10-5 on the season, 4th in the North Central.

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.