BONNYVILLE - The Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs had a win and two losses during a home stretch last week.
Although the Pontiacs bested the Sherwood Park Crusaders, they couldn’t keep their success going when they fell to the Okotoks Oilers and Spruce Grove Saints.
Pontiacs bounce back
The Pontiacs got the redemption they were looking for with a 3-2 win against the Sherwood Park Crusaders. The local team fell to Sherwood Park earlier this month when they faced off in enemy territory.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the Crusaders took the lead in the first period.
The Pontiacs found their stride in the second frame with a goal from Jaxsen Wyatt seven minutes in.
Although the Crusaders bounced back to start the third, Bonnyville didn’t let them hold onto their 2-1 lead.
With back-to-back goals from Pontiacs Bruce MacGregor and Daine Dubois, the team solidified their 3-2 victory before the final buzzer.
Saints best the Pontiacs
The Pontiacs success came to a hault when they faced off against the Spruce Grove Saints on Jan. 17. Bonnyville fell to the visiting team 5-3.
The Pontiacs came out of the locker room hot in the first, taking the lead just under three minutes into the game with a goal from Matthew McKim.
Dubois followed suit by adding his name to the scoresheet and McKim widened the gap.
The Saints found the back of the net before the period was through to bring the score to 3-1.
Despite a scoreless second period, Bonnyville was unable to hold onto their lead in the final frame.
The Saints scored four goals to capture a 5-3 win.
Pontiacs drop it in overtime
Despite a valiant effort, the Pontiacs suffered a 7-6 overtime loss against the visiting Okotoks Oilers on Saturday.
“You’re always disappointed when you don’t win, but you’re not as disappointed when you put in a 60-minute effort,” expressed head coach Rick Swan. “We played the whole clock, right to the very end.”
The first point of the evening went to Okotoks, but Pontiac Andres Bridgewater was quick to answer with one of his own.
The Oilers got back-to-back goals before Pontiac Lucas Thorne closed the gap with a point of his own.
Before the frame was through, the Oilers were leading 4-2.
Pontiac Joel Ray capitalized on a powerplay to kick-off the second frame, but Okotoks was fast to respond.
The Pontiacs came alive in the final frame, more determined than ever to walk away with the win.
“We got together as a group during the intermission,” recalled centreman Chayce Schmidt. “We said ‘if Spruce Grove can do it against us, we can do it against one of the top teams in the south.’ We knew we could come back, it was just a matter of staying disciplined and being hard on the forecheck each and every shift.”
Thorne added his name to the scoresheet for a second time, and MacGregor followed suit to tie the game 5-5.
After Okotoks pulled ahead, it looked like the game was over, but the home team refused to go down without a fight.
With four seconds left on the clock, Wyatt found the back of the Oilers’ net to send the game into overtime.
Unfortunately for the Pontiacs, the Oilers finished the night with the 7-6 victory.
Bonnyville defenceman Cameron Newton believes the team showed a lot of resilience during the game.
“It’s a huge character game for us, even though we didn’t come away with the win. There was a lot to take away from that,” he noted.
With teams ramping up for playoffs, the Pontiacs know the remainder of their season is going to be an uphill battle, no matter who they face-off against.
“We just have to continue to teach, and go to videos so we get better every day,” head coach Rick Swan detailed. “It’s that old cliché that you strive for excellence, and the way to do that is to try and be a little bit better than you were the day before.”
The Pontiacs next home game is against the Whitecourt Wolverines on Wednesday, Jan. 22. Puck drop is 7 p.m.