The Bonnyville Pontiacs had four different goal scorers and Cole Tisdale made all 20 saves as the Yaks levelled their first round playoff series against the Lloyd Bobcats on Saturday night with a 4-0 win.
It was a much needed response for the Pontiacs after Game 1, where the Bobcats played a perfect road hockey game, received quality goaltending from Matthew Syverson, and scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 6-2 upset.
Perhaps it was nerves that jumbled the Yaks in their opener on home ice, as ten Pontiacs were making their playoff debuts.
In Game 2, the Yaks dominated long stretches of the game with a tenacious forecheck. They also created rebound opportunities, which lead to captain Trey Funk’s opening goal, and the 3-0 goal scored by Nico Beaudoin, his first career postseason marker.
“Our guys really stuck to the plan,” said assistant coach Connor Cadaret.
“There was a couple adjustments in how we wanted to play in the o-zone and enter with the puck and take advantage of the way they defend. They did it all night. They didn’t waver.”
Quinton Gove chimed in on the scoresheet and Matteo Giampa buried on the powerplay as well, using a slick backhand-forehand move to score top-shelf.
Tisdale replaced Bodee Weiss after Game 1, and although he didn’t see many chances against in the first two periods, made every save required, including some terrific stops in the 3rd.
The 20-year-old netminder is well-travelled. This is Tisdale’s seventh junior team over the course of his career, bouncing from the WHL to the the AJHL to the BCHL and now back to Alberta again. But last year, Tisdale played in five playoff games with the Trail Smoke Eaters, providing some experience in that regard.
The Yaks had surrendered just five shots until there was seven minutes remaining in the 2nd period, possessing the puck for the majority.
So far, the powerplay has been finding success. The Yaks have scored on four of their nine chances, with the best powerplay percentage in the playoffs at 44.4 per cent.
While giving up two while shorthanded on Friday, that script flipped in Game 2 allowing no goals against.
“There was a couple huge blocks and that swings momentum so much in our favour. If our kill is paying the price and blocking that many shots, then that’s going to generate momentum for us,” said Cadaret.
The series shifts to the Border City for Game 3 and Game 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Puck drop for each game is at 7:00pm.
You can listen to every playoff game on lakelandconnect.net/pontiacs.