Pontiacs close season on three game winning streak, hand out awards

Image credit: Game Ready Photography. Pontiacs coaching staff recognize graduating 20-year-old players Daine Dubois, left, Joel Ray, middle, Lucas Thorne, right, at Friday night’s awards banquet.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs finished the regular season on a winning note with a pair of victories over the Grande Prairie Storm.

That cements their 4th place in the AJHL North where they will matchup against the Drayton Valley Thunder in the AJHL’s first round of playoffs.

Daine Dubois and Matt McKim each had three points on Saturday to beat the Storm 5-3, while a comeback effort was needed on Sunday to edge out Grande Prairie 2-1 as Austin Saint and Bruce MacGregor provided the offense.

Easton Hesse made 58 saves over the weekend and was named the AJHL’s Defensive Player of the Week for the third time in 2019-20.

“It was our last regular-season game for Riley Connors, last regular-season game for Joel Ray and our last regular-season games are obviously Lucas Thorne who was suspended here today, but Daine Dubois and the emotion of that for our players to obtain that respect that they were looking for….that they could look in Daine and Joel and Lucas’s as well as Riley Connors eyes and say thanks guys for giving everything that you have to this hockey club,” said coach Rick Swan after Sunday’s win.

Matt McKim was held out of Sunday’s game after taking a knee-on-knee hit in the third period the night before.

He isn’t believed to be seriously injured and should be ready for playoffs after a team-leading 85 points during the year.

Now, the team’s attention turns to a best-of-seven battle against one of the hardest working teams in the league.

The Pontiacs host the Drayton Valley Thunder for Game 1 and 2 on Saturday and Sunday at 7:00pm and 5:00pm, respectively.

“These games are going to be tight because they’re going to key on Daine and Lucas and Matt, so we have to have that secondary scoring and our D have to play that simple game by being puck movers.

“It’s going to be details, which are going to be critical because both teams are going to go head to head and they’re going to work as hard as they can. We just have to make sure that we bring that practice to a game that we put it all together with the 58 game season, so there are no lapses and we can play for that 60-minute timeframe.”

🚨🚨🚨Bonnyville Jr A Pontiacs vs Grande Prairie Storm|Final Regular Season Game|2-1 Yaks winPost Game with Coach Swan Presented by ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️✅Choquet Insurance Group Ltd.✅54 North Powersports Ltd.✅Ducharme Motors✅Buffalo Trail Liquor

Posted by Lakeland Connect on Sunday, February 23, 2020

Pontiacs awards banquet

The Bonnyville Pontiacs (33-21-4) handed out their annual awards on Friday night.

Hypnotist Wayne Lee once again delighted and dazzled the audience to cap off the evening.

Matt McKim earned the Most Gentlemanly, Top Scorer, and Star Awards for his fantastic campaign, which saw him tie Andy Doktorchik for 4th all-time assists in a single season (61).

Third-year Pontiac, Lucas Thorne was named the Most Valuable Player and linemate Daine Dubois took home the Defensive Forward award.

Thomas Kramer is the Top Rookie with his 22 goal season and first-year regular AJ Macaulay received the Most Improved award for the beginning of the year.

The Unsung Hero nod went to goaltender Easton Hesse who played the lionshare of games for the Yaks this year and posting a 27-19-4 record, 2.99 goals against average, and .913 save percentage.

Josh Kroon’s name will be added to the Top Defenseman award for his steady and two-way play on the backend and captain Joel Ray is the recipient of the President’s Award.

Long-term volunteer and 50-50 seller Chris Cadrin took home the Ma Hebert Award and was recognized for her service to the club and local hockey.