Sr. Pontiacs captain Lucas Isley and Adam Knapp wait for play to continue on Saturday after a dust up.
It was a tough way to end their year, but the Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs have been eliminated from the NCHL playoffs.
They lost 6-5 in overtime in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series on Saturday at the RJ Lalonde to finish the 2019-20 season after forcing a tie with just 11 seconds left in regulation.
Coach Corey Wandler credited his team’s effort throughout the latter half of the season, which saw the Pontiacs jump into the last playoff spot and play tough hockey in January and February.
“I don’t think anyone really gave us a shot or a hope at the start of this series. I think we surprised a lot of people,” he said.
“We got a team that just works hard. And that’s what I love about this team is it didn’t matter who was getting the recognition, it was just next man up mentality with this group. Everyone just kind of bought in. That’s what I love about this team. Everyone just came to the rink and wanted to play hockey and work hard and do our best.”
🚨🚨🚨Bonnyville Sr. Pontiacs vs Morinville Kings|Playoffs GAME #4(6-5 Yaks lose in OT) Post Game with Caoch Wandler Presented by ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ ⭐️Caouette & Sons Implements Ltd.⭐️Bluewave Energy Bonnyville⭐️Lloyd Sadd Demers' Insurance Brokers⭐️Tri City Value Drug Mart|Marina M
Posted by Lakeland Connect on Saturday, February 8, 2020
The Sr. Pontiacs got the start they wanted.
Lucas Isley scored just over four minutes into the game and goals from Justin Dubeau and Tanner Corbeil made the game 3-1 heading into the first intermission.
However, the Kings took advantage of their powerplay chances in the second period with Blake Grainger scoring a pair two minutes apart to tie the game.
“At the end of the day, that’s probably where they got us tonight. [If] we don’t have to kill so many penalties or we don’t take those penalties, we play more five on five…I thought tonight five on five we were the better team,” said Wandler.
Morinville added another powerplay goal to start the third period and went ahead 5-3 four minutes into the third period.
Lucas Isley narrowed the game to one goal midway through the period, before Denis Cadrin’s deflection with 11 seconds left in the game sent Game 4 into overtime.
“Tough turnover there in overtime, but that’s the game and unfortunately it wasn’t our night. But like I said, we got to hold our heads up for what we did in this series,” he said.
The 8th-seeded Pontiacs stole Game 1 in Morinville 6-3, and lost tight battles in Games 2 and Game 4 on home ice.
Pontiacs goaltender Eric Szudor faced 67 shots, stopping 61 of them.
“We gave everyone a hell of a hockey game and a heckuva series. Like I said, we can’t hold our heads down. We got to be proud of ourselves for what we accomplished here in this series. We gave the defending champs, Provincial champs everything they could handle so credit to the players. They were unbelievable.”