The Bonnyville Pontiacs began their 30th season in style with a pair of victories over rivals in the Lloydminster Bobcats over the weekend.
Bonnyville native Austin Saint scored two goals, and the Yaks only allowed one against in 3-1 and 3-0 wins on Friday and Saturday, respectively, extending their winning streak against the Bobcats to 14 games.
Sebastian Tamburro scored his seventh career AJHL goal in just his 18th game at 6:34 of the third period in the season opener to give the Yaks the lift needed for the season’s first win.
AJ Macaulay scored the game winner on the power play Saturday night, as the Yaks special teams shone in the opening series.
With the extra man, the Pontiacs scored on three of four power play opportunities combined against the ‘Cats, while going a perfect 8/8 on the penalty kill.
Netminders Matt Hennessey and Bodee Weiss each picked up a W in their starts. Hennessey made 31 saves as the Pontiacs held off a third-period charge in the third period of the home opener on Friday night.
Bodee Weiss’ first career start saw him make several ten-bell saves, stopping all 32 shots at the Centennial Civic Centre, the first Lloydminster home game in almost a calendar year.
“How about for that young man, what a debut in the AJHL, I was speechless at times,” said assistant coach Neil Langridge who credited both goalies with stellar performances over the weekend.
“I thought Trey Funk was phenomenal tonight. His feet didn’t stop moving…and he was a powerhouse for us up front.”
During Saturday’s road game, Funk filled in at center on two lines after Chayce Schmidt was kicked given a fighting major and game misconduct penalty. With wingers Charlie Russell and Nicholas Beaudoin, who also started his first AJHL game on Saturday, that line drew two penalties which led to powerplay goals from Macaulay and Michael Fairfax.
Captain Kash Rasmussen and Ethan Sundar are tied with Austin Saint for the team points lead with two.
The Pontiacs now sit 2-0 are tied with Spruce Grove, Drayton Valley, and Fort McMurray atop the AJHL North Division.
The last time the Bobcats defeated the Pontiacs in the regular season was February 3, 2018.
Langridge said the team is happy with the wins and will continue to work to gain chemistry ahead of a pair of home games vs the Whitecourt Wolverines.
“I think our defensive zone is going to be an area of focus for us. We’re hosting the Whitecourt Wolverines next weekend. Everything is going as planned as far as two wins,” he said.
“But it’s staying with our process like I said, but this young group has shown us things to get excited about. But now it’s about that consistency and making it 60 minutes of work, instead of 45 or 50, as I think it has for the past two nights.”
All Bonnyville Pontiacs games this season are broadcast on Lakeland Connect.
- Friday, September 24 | Home vs Whitecourt Wolverines
- Saturday, September 25 | Home vs Whitecourt Wolverines
- Tuesday, September 28 | Away vs Fort McMurray Oil Barons
- Saturday, October 2 | Vs Blackfalds Bulldogs | AJHL Showcase
- Sunday, October 3 | Vs Olds Grizzlys | AJHL Showcase