Thursday , 16 September 2021

Ice offense stifled by Wainwright Bisons in 4-1 loss

Connor Landry, left, and Devon McCormack, right, chat on their way back to the bench against the St. Paul Canadiens on Jan. 4.

Chandler Klein scored two goals and Billy Cawthorn made 36 saves as the Wainwright Bisons did not allow a repeat of their game on Oct. 27, and defeated the Cold Lake Ice 4-1.

The Bisons have only suffered three losses all season, one of them to the Cold Lake Ice on Oct. 27 at Imperial Oil Place 4-3.

Mitchell Bibeau scored twelve seconds into the third period to narrow the game to 2-1. But the Bisons didn’t allow many scoring chances throughout the game. Kallin Becher and Blake Fletcher scored and the Bisons extended their win streak to 13 games.

Coach Scott Hood said they lacked quality shots throughout, despite leading on the shot clock 37-31.

“There was nothing in high-end quality range at all. A couple of times we thought maybe we were going to score, but a lot of outside shots, a lot of perimeter shots. Obviously, you have to be concerned – to beat St. Paul or Killam you’re not going to win 1-0. We have to find a way to create some changes, it starts with us,” said Hood.

Hood says the team is a little concerned with the lack of offense heading into the post-season though.

“We’re not putting the puck in the net a whole bunch right now, and it’s tough to win games when you can’t do that,” said Hood.

“Guys need to be goal scorers. You watch practice and even warm-up, guys like they’re goalscorers but when you get one goal in two games – we don’t have any goalscorers right now, and that’s probably our biggest downfall. We don’t have that high-end talent like they do,” he said.

Matt Henwood made 27 saves and earned a star for his work between the pipes.

Last week, Henwood along with teammates Donovan Bibeau and Scott Thackeray were NEAJBHL Second Team All-Stars as voted on by the clubs.

“Obviously with Henwood if you look at our record and goals-against throughout the season, I think Henwood is the best goalie in the league. He’s kept us in every game we’ve played. We get great goaltending with him and Dusty Johnson-Watson.

“It was a surprise to get three all-star selections. Coltan Buchta could’ve been on that side of it too. Thackeray and Bibeau are very deserving as well. It’s a feather in our cap, but it’s not what we’re here for. But we’ll let them enjoy that and get ready for the playoffs.

The Ice host the Vermilion Tigers in their final game of the regular season next Saturday. Right now, the Ice are tied with the Lloydminster Bandits for 5th in the NEAJBHL.

If the Ice finish 5th they’ll play the St. Paul Canadiens in the first round, if they fall to 6th they’ll face the Killam Wheat Kings.

“We have a few APs we want to get a look at before the season ends and maybe rest a few guys. but you want to get your best lineup playing the best they can before playoffs. We’ll take the week to figure it out,” said Hood ahead of Vermilion.

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.