Lucas Thorne scored two third period goals and Easton Hesse made 28 saves in relief as the Bonnyville Pontiacs survived a late charge and defeated the last place Lloydminster Bobcats 6-4.
It’s six wins in the team’s seven games and the Pontiacs are now six points behind the second-place Spruce Grove Saints, who were pushed by a frisky Bobcats team at the Centennial Civic Centre, but saw contributions from all four forward lines in the victory.
Bonnyville went down early 2-0 in the first ten minutes, which signalled an early night for backup netminder Noah Amundson, and the Pontiacs survived a late two-goal push from the Bobcats in the final three minutes.
Curtis Hammond scored his fourth goal of the season (one of three Pontiacs to score their 4th on Wednesday night) and Matt McKim got his first of two points to earn 49 total to tie the game at the first intermission.
Reilly Connors cashed in on the 5-on-3 powerplay and Justin Stathopoulos finished what Chayce Schmidt started on a 1-on-2 rush to get a 4-2 lead after forty minutes.
After Lucas Thorne scored the 17th goal of the season to get a 5-2 lead, the Bobcats peppered 18 shots on Hesse including goals from Brendan Morrow and Tegan Skehar to make a 5-4 game with 1:11 left.
The Bobcats pulled Josh Dias for a chance at a late flurry, but Daine Dubois cleared the puck out of the zone and Thorne retook the goal-scoring lead for the Pontiacs with his 18th of the season.
The Pontiacs are now 3-0 against the Bobcats this season and will host the Bobcats Dec. 20 for The Brick Bonnyville Teddy Bear Toss game.
The Drayton Valley Thunder come to Bonnyville on Friday night. The last time they played the Thunder beat the Pontiacs 2-1.
“It’s going to be another war because they will work and work and work until the final buzzer goes,” assistant coach Neil Langridge.
“It’s going to be a great test for us and our predatorial instincts coming in Friday night because we know that we can’t take anything lightly regardless of where they are in the standings. We’ve learned that the hard way multiple times this year, but it’s going to be a good game for us,” he said.
Matt McKim extended his point streak to 9 games while Jeremy Gervais continues an eight game assist streak.
McKim and Thorne are 8th and 9th respectively in AJHL scoring.
Bruce MacGregor will be suspended for Friday’s game as he serves a two-game ban for his kneeing major on the Oil Baron’s Hunter Lamb from last Sunday.
A.J. Macaulay also did not dress either after taking a head hit from defenceman Riley Bodnarchuk, which the AJHL handed a three-game suspension for.