Wednesday , 19 January 2022

Pontiacs fall short in emotional, entertaining, strange 7-6 overtime loss

Lucas Thorne.

“…Jack Works,” – “He works.”

The Okotoks Oilers leading scorer ended another dramatic Pontiacs comeback attempt in overtime 7-6 to silence Bonnyville after Jaxsen Wyatt tied the game with just 3.3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

In the strangest, most interesting game in the Pontiacs season, the defenceman tied the game 6-6 after twice coming back from two goals down.

The Pontiacs entered the third period down 5-3 after trailing for most of the game but forced a comeback after Lucas Thorne’s cannon beat Brady Parker and a funny deflection tied the game.

Okotoks capitalized on a late powerplay chance on Chayce Schmidt’s boarding penalty to regain the lead and seemed poised to leave the RJ Lalonde with two points until Wyatt’s point shot found a lane past Brady Parker to force an exciting overtime.

“Even though we got behind early, our guys didn’t quit,” said Coach Rick Swan.

“They didn’t allow that to detract them or take away that momentum that they needed to come back in and, and work hard and play for the entire 60 minutes. And that’s what allowed us to get into an overtime situation and an overtime situation – it’s anybody’s game.”

The Pontiacs top line of Lucas Thorne, Matt McKim, and Daine Dubois were leading the charge all weekend, scoring all the team’s goals on Friday night in a disappointing 5-3 loss to Spruce Grove and nine points overall against the Oilers.

Having scored a ridiculous breakaway goal the night before, McKim was hauled down seconds into overtime taking away a scoring chance and was stripped shortly after 1-on-1 in the offensive zone before the overtime winner.

Slow start

Andy Bridgewater got his first goal as a Pontiac, but goals by Noah Kim and Liam Freeborn made it 3-1 before the five-minute mark.

The Oilers found shooting lanes and broke down the Pontiacs defensively with back up goaltender Noah Amundson pulled following the fourth goal on eight shots.

Easton Hesse closed out the remainder of the first period, trailing 4-2.

Joel Ray scored on the powerplay moments into the second period, but despite going 2-for-6 with the extra-attacker, the Pontiacs allowed a shorthanded goal from Marc Pasemko after Hesse got crossed up with Lucas Thorne behind the net creating a turnover and the team’s five of the night.

At times the scoring plays were disjointed as each team struggled with turnovers at times.

After earning a point on Saturday, the Pontiacs sit in third (28-14-3) in the AJHL North, nine points behind the Saints for second place.

The tough stretch of games continues for the Pontiacs. Having played the second, third, and fourth place teams in the AJHL for the past five contests, Bonnyville hosts Whitecourt on Wednesday at 7:00pm before going out on the road to play the league-leading Brooks Bandits and Drumheller Dragons.

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.