BONNYVILLE – The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs have survived to play another round in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) playoffs.
Playing away on Sunday evening, the Bonnyville team cemented their spot in the second round of playoffs after beating the Lloydminster Bobcats 5-2.
Sunday’s match was Game 6 of the Pontiacs’ series against the Bobcats, where the Bonnyville team would ultimately skate away with four victories over Lloydminster’s two wins.
Early in the series each game swung back and forth, but the series boiled over during games four and five. On Wednesday, both teams pushed the final buzzer into double overtime before the Bobcats would earn the game-winning goal, with a final score of 5-4.
In front of a cheering crowd on Friday night at the RJ Lalonde Arena, the Pontiacs were happy to return the favour. Pontiacs’ centre Luka Sukovic would score the game winning goal in overtime with the help of Ethan Look and Cole Hipkin, putting the home team at a 3-2 advantage in the series.
Following Friday’s home game, Look told Lakeland This Week, “We are all motivated to win playoffs. When it comes to stamina and how your body feels, that's in the back of your head and what's in the front of your head is going out there to getting the job done.”
After a grueling week of putting it all out on the ice, Look said the last thing on players' minds is how tired they are and how much their bodies ached. “It's playoffs. What we're thinking is the next shift, the next play.”
Reflecting on the series, Pontiacs’ head coach Mario Pouliot said, “It's a tight series and it's always like that in the playoffs. The season is one thing, but during the playoffs, it doesn’t matter who you are going to face.”
Pouliot gave credit to the Bobcats’ goal tender Matthew Syverson, who at times faced close to 50 shots on net multiple nights throughout the series. “He did really good, in four of the last five games their goalie was their best player.”
So, how did the home team find success? “Focusing on one shift at a time and playing our game – and that's exactly what we did,” said Pouliot. “We want to play fast pace. We want to move our feet. We are fast, we're big, and we want to move the puck fast too.”
In round two of the playoffs, the Pontiacs will go head-to-head with the Whitecourt Wolverines.
The Pontiacs' next home game will be on March 28, marking Game 3 of Bonnyville's upcoming series against the Wolverines.