Spruce Grove Saints players skate off the ice in Game 4 of the AJHL semi-final after sweeping the Bonnyville Pontiacs last night.
The Bonnyville Pontiacs record-breaking season has ended early.
The Yaks fell 1-0 in Game 4 to the Spruce Grove Saints which capped off a four-game sweep by the defending AJHL Champions.
The only goal of the game came from Nick Leyer midway through the first period. The Pontiacs struggled, as they did all series, to get pucks towards Saints goaltender Matthew Davis.
Colby Muise, in his final AJHL game, made 49 saves as the Yaks were heavily outshot for the third straight game.
“It was not the finish we wanted. Obviously with such a strong season, we wanted to carry that on to our postseason. It didn’t happen. there were so many moments this year that were very special. We didn’t get the result we wanted today,” said Coach Rick Swan.
The Pontiacs had finished the regular season with a new franchise record in wins (41) and second in the AJHL North. However, it seemed the Yaks never fully recovered from a February slide that saw them lose five games in a row and fall from first place.
Cayden Kraus hit the post in the third period and had two of the better chances in the game to tie it.
The Pontiacs killed two third period penalties, of seven total, to give themselves a chance in the closing minutes.
But could not get settled int othe Saints zone, thanks to the strong work on the back end by TJ Lloyd, Cory Babichuk, and Tanner Hickey.
Spruce Grove will await the winner of Sherwood Park and Fort McMurray for the North Division crown.
Pontiacs players Grayson Constable, Matthew Monk, Luke Albert, Sean Thomson, Bobby Young, Colby Muise, will be among the departing players at the end of the season.
“Ultimately, you see the way these guys have grown as men and you know that they’re going to be good people and good citizens just because of the growth they’ve done besides what you see on the ice. I love every one of them. I think they wanted to do everyone in Bonnyville proud. There’s not a dry eye in the dressing room. They wanted to give our town something to cheer about,” said Swan.
When asked the question if Swan is staying with the team beyond this off-season, he said: “This organization has given me so much, my family so much. I’m proud and honoured to be able to lead this organization. I’m honoured that the board trusts me to be able to do so. And also believe in a philosophy more than on the ice. Yeah, it’s wins and loses, but young people that come into our organization that come out as young men.
“That’s who we are.”