Friday , 23 July 2021

Pontiacs are “dialed-in” heading into three game homestand

Bonnyville Pontiacs goalie Colby Muise hydrates during last Wednesday’s game against the Sherwood Park Crusaders which the Yaks won 5-2.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs are as hot right now. Perhaps the hottest they’ve been all season.

Which is no same feat.

Fresh off of a pair weekend victories against division rivals, including a 8-1 win against third-place Spruce Grove Saints which chased World Junior A Challenge netminder Matthew Davis from the net, the Pontiacs sit first in the North Division with a game in-hand on second place Sherwood Park.

The Pontiacs (34-10-3) sit 9th in the nation on the CJHL’s national ranking list. They are on pace to beat their franchise record for wins in a season (40).

Coach Rick Swan said the group was dialed-in at practice the last two days.

“We’ve had a good couple of days of practice that we’re pretty pleased on where we’re trending,” said coach Rick Swan.

“Twelve games left and that’s a little bit of our conversation with the players today. We’ve got twelve games left, where we have been trending and where we need to trend. It’s about setting goals and making sure there’s a process for achieving those goals,” said Swan.

The Pontiacs are home for their next three games.

Tonight, they host the Lloydminster Bobcats, before weekend tilts with the Canmore Eagles and Whitecourt Wolverines on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

“It’s got to be a mental investment for our guys. On paper if we treat it like we’re playing Lloydminster last place, we’re first place, things have been going well lately, that may show up in two weeks from now because we’re not able to sustain the same dedication to playing the right way for 60 minutes. That’s our big enemy as a coaching staff so that doesn’t seep in,” said Swan.

Colby Muise named AJHL Defensive Player of the Week

Pontiacs netminder Colby Muise is the second Bonnyville Pontiac player named this season as the Alberta Ford Dealers AJHL Defensive Player of the Week.

Muise recorded three wins last week, including his third shutout of the season against Drayton Valley, and launched the Pontiacs to the top of the Viterra AJHL North Division standings.

He only allowed three goals on 98 shots.

“He’s going to be a big part of our success in the real season. I always believed he is and was the best goalie in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He got a little distracted maybe with numbers, versus today. And it’s just playing the very best he’s capable of playing,” said Swan.

Muise is 5th overall among AJHL goaltenders with a 2.38 GAA, 3rd overall with his .920 SV%, and boasts a record of 24-9-1. The Pontiacs are first overall in the North Division with 12 games remaining.

Muise will get the night off tonight against Lloydminster. Easton Hesse (10-1-2) will start against the Bobcats.

Pontiacs encouraging fans to come to the rink

The Pontiacs are encouraging fans to come out to the rink for this week’s game. They are challenging you to bring a friend who hasn’t been to a game yet this season.

“With the team on pace to set records with wins and points and having the best regular season to this point in franchise history, we always encourage fans to come out and support the team,” said director of business operations, Robb Hunter.

“We know when the fans get loud in the RJ Lalonde Arena there’s no better place to play. I know it really motivates the guys when they look up and see the stands full and we’ve had some really big crowds for some games this year, and we just encourage fans to continue to come out and support this team that is competing in a small market in the AJHL.”

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.