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Wednesday , 30 November 2022
Left to right: Nicolas Beaudoin, Matteo Giampa, and Max Seguin have been among the league's best since being united on the team's top line.

Giampa, Beaudoin, Seguin shine in Pontiacs romp over Thunder

It was a dominating, emergent game for the Bonnyville Pontiacs top line that could cement them as one of the best across the entire Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The Yaks ran roughshod over the Drayton Valley Thunder in a 7-2 home win on Saturday night, which washed the taste of a disappointing 6-2 loss to the Sherwood Park Crusaders the night before out of their mouths.

Their aces in Matteo Giampa had one goal and five assists, while Nico Beaudoin and winger Max Seguin each scored two goals and added two helpers, in a game they took over to lead the Pontiacs to victory.

“Definitely one of the most fun lines to watch,” said assistant coach Connor Cadaret after the game.

“It’s a cool connection because they can kind of all do everything. They can all be the one that goes and gets the puck, they can all be the one that finishes, they can all be the one that sets it up, so they work really well together. All three of them are super coachable young men and they’re always trying to get better.” 

The start was lacklustre for Bonnyville though, who went down early in the 1st period and seemed out of rhythm. Daniel Kernaghan scored his first of two in the contest as the Drayton Valley Thunder was generating chances.

But the game flipped with 5:30 left in the 1st period, when Seguin banged in a loose puck at the side of the goal to equalize. Beaudoin scored a goal scorer’s goal almost two minutes later to take the lead heading into the intermission and Bonnyville never looked back.

Giampa scored his first of the contest a little over a minute into the 2nd period and Mike Cataldo’s net drive bullied the puck past Thunder netminder Cole Savage moments later to take a three goal lead.

The top line scored two more to close the frame and Josh Simpson added one before regulation ended on the powerplay to cement the victory.

Now winners of their last three at home, the Pontiacs have scored 20 goals in those games. A team that was struggling to finish on its opportunities a few weeks ago is clicking.

I think especially on the offensive side of the puck, we’re a lot more active in the o-zone. We’re moving, we’re creating more small area two-on-ones, which comes from practice in those small areas,” said Cadaret. 

“But learning how to read off of each other and create, reading on out-numbered situations off of the sustained pressure and then sticking with our structure off the rush, learning what plays we can make where we don’t need to force something.” 

Giampa in particularly is announcing himself as perhaps the league’s most dynamic offensive force. Currently 4th in league scoring with 41 points in 26 games, the Virgil, Ontario native has 34 points on 5-on-5 situations, which is ten points more than the next scorer in the entire AJHL.

In fact, his linemate Beaudoin is 4th in the league 5-on-5, first among rookies, and is 3rd in the league in goals with 18.

Ludovik Tardif is the recent addition to the team, after being acquired from Alberni Valley of the BCHL. He made his debut on Saturday night and hopes to provide more skill and finish into the team’s top-6.

“I’m a playmaker, I like to make plays, I’m pretty fast too,” he told Lakeland Connect. “If I can shoot the puck a couple times I hope to score a couple goals.”

In an ultra competitive North Division, the Yaks sit 3rd with a record of 14-10-2. They’ll get a few days of practice before hosting the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for a pair starting this Friday night.

You can listen every game, all season on lakelandconnect.net/pontiacs.

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.