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Sr. Pontiacs optimistic about season, lose first two games over weekend

Bonnyville Sr. A Pontiacs at practice last week. 

The Bonnyville Sr. A Pontiacs are hoping to leave behind last season with a fresh face and consistency into the 2019-20 hockey season.

However, the Sr. Yaks fell in their first games this weekend, 10-3 to Westlock and 9-4 at home on Sunday to the Devon Barons.

The team is counting on a returning core of Lucas Isley, Denis Cadrin, Ty Carey and Tanner Corbeil while new players draw into the line-up, said head coach Corey Wandler, to improve upon the last-place finish a year ago.

“We basically have a whole new look compared to last year,” said Wandler.

“I think some good young faces, young kids in their early 20s, that are still hungry and eager to play hockey and I think want to be at the rink, so that’s a good sign. We definitely have our main core of veteran players that have kind of been with us for the last number of years. We will lean on those guys to lead the ship and make sure that the commitments going to be there.

“Then we were able to sign a goaltender that played three years in the AJHL and a season with Grant MacEwen. So we got a new goalie coming in, which looks really positive for us.”

Those younger faces include recent captain of the Cold Lake Ice Coltan Buchta, former Frog Lake T-Bird Tayon Metzler, and Manson Ballash.

Eric Szudor, Fort McMurray Oil Baron netminder from 2015-2018 started in both games over the weekend.

The Pontiacs were only down 5-4 heading into the third period of Sunday’s game, but the third period got away from them with four unanswered goals by the Barons.

Bonnyville is the only team to play two games so far this NCHL season and host Morinville on Saturday night at the RJ Lalonde.

“I think it’s going to be a good year, as long as we can hold everything together and the commitments there.”