For the first time in franchise history the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs have swept a four game southern road trip collecting eight points in games against Calgary, Canmore, Brooks and Drumheller last week.
“It is unreal. It is a big confidence booster for our team,” said Pontiacs captain Steen Pasichnuk. “It just really opens the eyes of the guys as to how good we really are this year.”
Alden Dupuis had two goals on Nov. 24 as Bonnyville doubled-up the Calgary Mustangs 4-2.
Dupuis continued his hot streak notching two more goals on Nov. 25 in a 6-1 demolition of the Canmore Eagles.
Zach Mills scored his first career AJHL hat trick as the Pontiacs squeaked past the Brooks Bandits 6-5 on Friday night.
Powerplay goals from Mills and Dupuis propelled Bonnyville past the Drumheller Dragons 3-1 on Saturday night.
Pontiacs double up Mustangs
The tough stretch of four games in five nights started with a dominant victory over Calgary on Nov. 24.
Bonnyville pummeled Mustangs netminder Ryan Ternes firing 42 shots on goal over the course of the contest.
Bobby McMann got the scoring started just 25 seconds into the game when he ripped one past Ternes to give Bonnyville the lead.
Vincent Paquette and Taden Rattie answered back for the Mustangs in the opening half of the second period to propel Calgary out in front.
With time ticking down in the middle period Alden Dupuis took over. The 19-year-old Pontiac forward scored with 1:45 left in the second and again 8:32 into the third and Bonnyville was up 3-2.
Brinson Pasichnuk hit an empty net to seal a 4-2 victory.
Bonnyville thumps Canmore
Two goals in every period allowed the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs to waltz past the Canmore Eagles with 6-1 victory on Wednesday night.
Bryan Gerstenfeld and Ryan Piche scored in the first period to put Bonnyville up 2-0.
Derek Brown and Chandler Klein continued to Pontiacs offensive push in the second period. Brown scored on the powerplay at 2:56 of the period, before Klein tickled the twine at 17:19.
After two periods Bonnyville was up 4-0 and had outshot the Eagles 30-15.
“It was definitely a team effort,” said Bonnyville’s Alden Dupuis. “The penalty kill was unreal for us. We had a lot of positivity on the bench and I think that helped a lot.”
Bonnyville’s penalty kill went 4-for-4 on this night, shutting the door on the Eagles powerplay.
The Pontiacs special teams had a big impact in the game as the team was able to notch two powerplay goals of their own, while possessing a stingy penalty kill.
Dupuis scored his seventh of the season 1:53 into the third with Canmore’s Jonas Gordon in the box for boarding.
After the Eagles got on the board at 2:47 of the final frame, Dupuis continued his torrid scoring streak.
This time it was the Pasichnuk brothers setting him up, as Steen and Brinson drew assists on Dupuis’ second goal of the game at 11:21 of the third.
“I stick to the structure of the team,” said Dupuis about his recent hot streak. “I haven’t been focusing on points too much. (The coaches) just told me to play my game and the points will come.”
Two games into the southern road swing and Dupuis had collected four goals and one assist to lead the Pontiacs offence over those games.
Pontiacs squeak past Bandits
American Zach Mills celebrated Thanksgiving on Nov. 27 by notching his first career AJHL hat trick in a 6-5 victory over Brooks.
The Cottage Grove, MN native scored his sixth, seventh and eighth goals of the season in front of a group of his family and friends who were streaming the game live in Minnesota.
“All of my buddies are home from college and they all ran over to my house to watch their first Canadian hockey game,” said Mills.
“The excitement of playing for my buddies. It gave me a little extra fire tonight.”
The extra incentive for Mills was exactly what the Pontiacs needed on Friday night as they were in tough against the South Division leading Bandits.
With the game tied 1-1 midway through the first period the Mills scoring spree started.
Moments after whiffing on a wide-open net Mills took a feed from Gen Bryshun and notched his first of the game. The goal came on the powerplay at 14:19 to put the Pontiacs up 2-1.
Just 13 seconds after Shane Bear had tied the game for the Bandits, Mills notched his second of the evening.
“Charlie (Gawlicki) kicked it out to me on the left side. I was just trying to put it on net,” said Mills, describing the goal. “It went off the goalie’s shoulder, went over him, hit his back foot and rolled in.”
After Kyler Hehn and Josh McKechney traded goals a few minutes later, Mills would go on to notch his third.
“There was a turnover, Bobby picked the puck up and it was a two-on-one,” said Mills. “Bobby made a great saucer pass to me and I just brought it too my backhand and went five hole.”
Mills’ eighth of the season put the Pontiacs up 5-3 midway through the second period.
Dylan McCrory would add a pair of goals for the Bandits, while McMann would score for the Pontiacs.
Bonnyville squeaked past Brooks with a narrow 6-5 victory.
“The guys around me were making great plays. The opportunities came and tonight they were just going in for me,” said Mills.
Pontiacs slay Dragons
Another great performance from the special teams led the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs past the Drumheller Dragons on Saturday night.
Alden Dupuis’ ninth of the season 10:22 into the opening period starting the scoring for Bonnyville.
The powerplay goal came 1:06 into a high sticking minor to Drumheller’s Jacob Schofield.
The night would be full of power play opportunities for both sides as the two teams marched to the penalty box all night long.
The Pontiacs managed to go 2-for-7 on the powerplay and 8-for-8 on the penalty kill, shutting down the potent Dragons powerplay.
At 4:22 of the second period, with Bonnyville’s Gen Bryshun in the box for slashing, captain Steen Pasichnuk was able to find a loose puck and snap it past Xavier Burghardt for a short-handed goal.
“We are a team that takes pride in our penalty kill,” said Bonnyville head coach and GM Rick Swan. “We have got great sticks this year and guys take pride in making sure that the habits with their sticks eliminate shots through the danger areas and also (eliminate) passes.”
Slater Dykema scored at 14:34 of the second period to cut Bonnyville’s lead in half, but that is as close as the Dragons would get.
Just over a minute into the third period Zach Mills would notch his ninth of the year on the powerplay to restore Bonnyville’s two goal advantage.
The Pontiacs would go on to win the game 3-1 and improve their overall record to 20-8-5.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Swan, of the four game south division sweep. “Before we got on to this trip we had set team goals as far as what (the players) wanted to do. Man for man they wanted to try and come out of this week with eight points.”
“I am proud of these guys,” added Swan. “There is a tremendous amount of character in this dressing room.”
The Pontiacs will travel to Lloydminster for a game on Dec. 2 before coming back home to host the Grande Prairie Storm on Dec. 5.