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Saturday , 19 September 2020
Kash Rasmussen fires a puck top corner on Drumheller Dragons goaltender Daniel Allin after squeezing through two defenders.

Pontiacs hang with Bandits, Dragons, but see losing streak extend

Kash Rasmussen fires a puck top corner on Drumheller Dragons goaltender Daniel Allin after squeezing through two defenders.  

Brady Risk scored two powerplay goals and the Drumheller Dragons beat the Bonnyville Pontiacs 5-2 to extend the Yaks losing streak to five games on Saturday.

The night before, the Pontiacs threatened to end a 52 game win streak on home-ice for the Brooks Bandits to sweep the CJHL’s number one ranked team.

The game was tied 1-1 until minutes left in the third period when Chris Pappas took advantage of a bad change to score the winner, spoiling a great effort from Bonnyville in a hostile environment.

This weekend ends a streak of eight straight games against the league’s top-half of teams as Bonnyville hosts the Olds Grizzlys on Friday before the Dragons come for a rubber match on Saturday.

Coach Rick Swan said he thought the effort was there against the Dragons, but effort is not always enough to win games at this stage of the season.

“Ten regular-season games left and our 20-year-olds are counting on our guys to put in the effort that we want. And I think that effort’s not enough. Because at this time of the year, when guys are coming off after goals that are scored, and after there are breakdowns within our defensive zone that cause teams to get success against us,” he said.

“At this time of the year, we can’t be coming off the bench and say, ‘Hey, sorry, guys, that was my bad. Sorry, guys. That was my guy.’ Because at this time of the year, that can’t happen here. You have to make sure that you know what we’re doing out there.”

Thorne reaches franchise points milestone

Lucas Thorne’s 27th goal of the season in Drumheller puts him 10th all-time in Bonnyville Pontiacs point-scoring as he passed Rob Sirianni with his 149th point with Bonnyville.

Swan spoke high highly of his team’s top trio in Lucas Thorne, Matt McKim, and Daine Dubois and captain Joel Ray as veterans who have carried the team through stretches of the year.

“Lucas Thorne is playing through pain each and every single day, Daine Dubois, that line is carrying us here. Those are the guys that don’t want it to end and they are playing like they never wanted to end. But that’s the example for other guys, if they can do it at 20 and they’re doing everything that they can, maybe that’s something for me to step up,” he said.

With 10 games left in the regular season, Thorne has a chance of moving as high as 7th on the list to pass Justin Fontaine with 157 points.

Kirk Lamb sits 8th all-time with 153 points and Lucas Isley is 9th with 152 points.

Losing skid

After defeating the Sherwood Park Crusaders 3-2 on Jan. 15, the Pontiacs have dropped games against Spruce Grove, Okotoks, Whitecourt, Brooks, and Drumheller.

Breakdowns in the defensive zone and some missed opportunities have been part of the struggle.

The Pontiacs remain 3rd in the North Division seven points ahead of the Whitecourt Wolverines.

“We’ll be working overtime hours and I think the challenge for our players is if we’re going to be doing what we need to do, their challenge is going to be to outwork us because we know we’ve gotta be responsible. And we got to be the catalyst to change this and, and believe me, we’ll do it. We’ll make sure that long days for us will translate to efficiency for these guys because we got to give them what they need.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connect Media. 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.