Colton Buchta scored the lone Sr. Pontiacs goal but it was not enough to hold off the Devon Barons in Bonnyville’s home opener a 2-1 loss on Sunday.
Newcoming netminder Garrett Iverson made 30 saves in the first period alone and 49 total in the losing effort, but goals from Cody Issler and Josh Dugas stood up as the winners.
“We played well for the last 40 [minutes], actually outshot them and I was pretty happy with that game. Unfortunately we didn’t come out on top,” said coach Corey Wandler.
“For us, second of the game, that was their fifth, they had had a few more skates than us. So having last year off, we have some guys trying to get back into game shape.”
The season began on Oct. 16 where Pontiacs played Red Deer and lost 9-3. There was no 2020-21 NCHL season last year due to the health restrictions, but the appetite from locals to play this year is growing.
“This is my fourth season, this is the best turnout I’ve had in four years. Right from training camp, early October, we had over 20 guys out for the skate. And we’ve played two games and had a full lineup of 18 skaters. Usually, for a home game you’ll have close to a full lineup, for a road game maybe 12-15 skaters on average, if we can continue to have the turnout, that will pay off as we move down the road,” said Wandler.
The competition leaguewide is increasing. The North Central Hockey League is a AA Senior League, but Wandler says you’re continuing to the talent pool increase.
“You have a lot of ex-Junior A guys, you even have some ex-pro guys, or guys who had stints in the WHL or college hockey, even some players who played Division I. It’s really good hockey,” he said.
The Sr. Pontiacs get this weekend off, but play again at home in a couple of weekends.
They are on the road Nov. 6 in Fort Saskatchewan and on Nov. 13 in Westlock. Returning home, the Sr. Pontiacs play at the RJ Lalonde Sunday, November 14 at 2:30pm against the Morinville Kings.