Friday , 28 January 2022

Bonnyville Pontiacs head into Xmas break knowing they’re a top AJHL team

It’s a well deserved holiday break for the Bonnyville Pontiacs who got the best of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Thursday night, doubling up the top team in the AJHL North Division 6-3 last night.

Matteo Giampa broke the deadlock in the 3rd period with a snipe top-shelf in the slot for his 10th goal of the season, which the Pontiacs ahead and they’ve never look back.

Bodee Weiss made 31 of 34 saves while Austin Saint and AJ Macaulay added empty-netters to secure the win.

It was a see-saw first period that saw the Oil Barons score just 1:12 into the game and then was tied 3 separate times after goals from Charlie Russell, Trey Funk, and Austin Saint.

“We prepared all week and talked about staying in the moment. And even though they scored early, we knew if we stuck to our gameplan we were going to have opportunities of our own, and we capitalized early on ours. It was a bit of a back-and-forth first period, but happy to come out of that tied and it tightened up after that,” said assistant coach Derek Hemsley who assigned the head coaching responsibilities with Rick Swan and Neil Langridge away on a scouting trip.

“I’m very happy with our effort and how we shut down all their offence.”

The win gives the Pontiacs a 23-8-5 record sitting third in the North Division and with .500 or better records than the teams they chase ahead of them in Spruce Grove (2-2) and Fort McMurray (3-1).

Austin Saint is amongst elite company goal-scoring wise. He has 20 goals currently, which only 7 other players can boast as of Friday afternoon.

With 40 points, Sebastian Tamburro has the team lead in points at the break, and earned the Northern Truck & Industrial Supplies – NAPA Traction Player of the Month for November. The Toronto-born forward has 50 points in 52 AJHL games.

Many of the players began travelling back home for Christmas on Friday, knowing when they return, they’ve put themselves in a good position to succeed during the second half.

“It’s big for us especially heading into the break. We know we have a week off now where we can reset and come back and focus on the second half. But we wanted to make sure we ended on a high note. We played Fort Mac on Sunday and this was the rubber match. We weren’t happy with our result in that game, but happy with our effort tonight,” said Hemsley.

The Bonnyville Pontiacs are not done this month though. They’ll play their rivals in the Lloyd Bobcats in a pair of games to close out 2021.

Yaks host the Bobcats on Thursday, December 30 at 7:00pm. You can listen to every game this season at lakelandconnect.net/pontiacs.

Upcoming games:

  • At the Lloyd Bobcats | Wednesday, December 29 | 7:30pm
  • Home Lloyd Bobcats | Thursday, December 30 | 7pm
  • Home Drayton Valley Thunder | Tuesday, January 4 | 7pm
  • At the Brooks Bandits | Friday, January 7 | 7pm
  • At the Drumheller Dragons | Saturday, January 8 | 7pm

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. 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.