Image: Lakeland Connect’s player of the Game Daine Dubois with trainer Kim Sydora
Daine Dubois scored two goals in the third period to rally from a steep deficit and AJ Macaulay scored in the fourth round of the shootout to give the Bonnyville Pontiacs a much needed 5-4 win in the shootout over the Whitecourt Wolverines on Saturday night.
It was a rollercoaster game that saw end to end rushes in the second period, tremendous goaltending between Easton Hesse and Vincent Duplessis, and puck poise in the shootout.
The win evens the season series at three wins a piece heading into their final matchup on January 22.
Whitecourt defeated the Pontiacs 3-2 on Friday night.
In their six meetings this season, the Pontiacs and Wolverines have played five one-goal games, including three that went into the shootout.
“Our best players were our best players tonight,” said Coach Rick Swan after the game.
“That’s critical if we’re going to win these tight character games.”
The combination of Lucas Thorne-Matt McKim-Daine Dubois finished the game with eight combined points.
Thorne got the scoring going just 52 seconds into the game as the Pontiacs got off to a hot start.
After it appeared Reilly Connors scored – the referee did not make a goal call – the Wolverines stormed back and did not allow a shot for the remainder of the first period, and Brayden Labant tied the game.
Defenceman Jaxsen Wyatt scored his first goal as a Bonnyville Pontiac as both acquisitions in the Marc Benoit trade scored in their first weekend.
However, Kaleb Ergang and Sam Anderson scored 24 seconds apart at the end of the second period as it was firewagon hockey with many odd-man rushes.
Anderson scored shorthanded in the third period, but Dubois scored 28 seconds later to inch the game back to within one.
It all led to a massive equalizer from Daine Dubois on the 6-on-4 powerplay with Hesse sitting on the bench. He drilled the puck in the slot to send the game into extra time.
Macaulay, who does not have a goal yet this season, earns the shootout winner.
The Pontiacs embark on a four-game, five-day road trip this week.
It begins in Olds on Tuesday, Calgary on Wednesday, before playing one of the AJHL’s top teams in the Okotoks Oilers on Friday night and the Canmore Eagles on Saturday.
Post Game with Coach Swan
“After we go with Thorny, Kimmer, and Dubes, AJ was a guy that’s been really good and really hot in the practice shootouts, so for us, it was a no-brainer. He goes out there like it’s a natural thing for him. I think that’s a good character piece to show our veterans our young guys are capable of contributing,” said Swan.
“It had a bit of everything. You talk about from a fan perspective for us to make the comeback to get it 4-2, pulling our goalie and having that 6-on-4 at the end there, lots of excitement into overtime and of course the shootout, it’s a flip of a coin for anybody. It was one of those ones where we weren’t getting those bounces last night, but tonight we had some bounces that helped us have success.”
Watch the shootout
Shootout begins at 5:09.