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Sr. Yaks headed to playoffs

BONNYVILLE – The Bonnyville Sr. AA Pontiacs are heading to playoffs despite a tough end to their regular season.

The Pontiacs lost their final two games of the regular season over the weekend against the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs and the Daysland Northstars.

“Hopefully, we can clean it up at practices this week and have a completely different mindset and attitude going into next weekend because it’s playoffs,” explained head coach Corey Wandler.

Pontiacs struggle against the Chiefs

Bonnyville felt the sting of a 9-3 loss after a matchup against the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs on Saturday, Jan. 18.

The Pontiacs started strong with Lucas Isley getting the first point for the visiting team just over three minutes into the game.

After three quick goals from the Chiefs, Pontiac Denis Cadrin snuck the puck past Fort Saskatchewan’s goalie to finish off the period.

The second frame went to Fort Saskatchewan, who widened their lead to 5-2  as Bonnyville struggled to find the back of the net.

Four goals from the Chiefs in the third period squashed any hope of a comeback for the Pontiacs. While Josh Swampy managed to score a third goal for Bonnyville, it was the Chiefs that walked away with the 9-3 win

Pontiacs fall in their final home game

The Pontiacs bad luck continued in their next game on home ice when they lost 8-3 against the Daysland Northstars.

“I know this game meant nothing as far as standings go, because we had clinched a playoff spot, but you’ve still got to groom your game, work on certain aspects and we totally got away from that,” exclaimed Wandler.

On Sunday, Jan. 19, the teams were evenly matched for a majority of the first period. The first goal of the afternoon went to the Northstars with under three minutes left in the frame.

Daysland took a 3-0 lead before back-to-back goals from Isley brought the Pontiacs within one heading into the third.

The Northstars came out firing on all cylinders in the final frame, adding four points to their lead. 

Determined not to let up, Pontiac Tanner Corbeil added his name to the scoresheet, but the Northstars answered to solidify their 8-3 victory.

With the first round of playoffs quickly approaching, the Pontiacs will focus on improving their game to avoid a repeat of the tough losses they faced in their final two games of the regular season.

“We expect a lot more out of ourselves, and we’re coming back harder in playoffs,” noted centreman Justin Dubeau. “We know we can do better, so we will.”

Wandler added, “We’ve got to work on a lot of things, especially our play away from the puck. This weekend was atrocious just leaving guys hanging wide open, allowing teams to break out easy, not checking properly, we get running around, blowing our assignments, and just soft on pucks…. We’ve just got to be more crisp, groomed, more detailed in our game, and that comes with knowing those small details that we want to work on.”

The Pontiacs will go up against the Morinville Kings in the first round of playoffs. Wandler is expecting to be away for game one, and to be home for the second matchup on Sunday, Jan. 26. A time has yet to be determined.

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle