With five key players out of the lineup the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs limped through a three-game southern road trip last weekend going 0-1-2.
A 3-0 shutout at the hands of the Okotoks on Sunday afternoon capped off the trip, after the team lost 5-4 in a shootout in Olds on Friday and 2-1 in overtime on Saturday in Calgary.
Grizzlys edge Pontiacs in shootout
Newly acquired Austin Holmes scored the lone goal of the shootout as the Olds Grizzlys held off a Bonnyville come back attempt and squeaked out a 5-4 shootout victory.
The loss was the Pontiacs first to a South Division squad all season, as the team had gone 11-0 against southern opponents up until this trip.
“We felt that we didn’t play our best,” said head coach and GM Rick Swan.
“Although we didn’t get the result we wanted we came away with one point and learned some lessons that are certainly going to help this hockey club moving forward.”
Brandon Whistle opened the scoring at 13:54 of the first period when he sped down the left wing, blew by a defender and rifled a wrist shot into the top right corner.
The lead held up until early in the second period when Olds forward Landon Kletke slipped one past Bonnyville net minder Olivier Charest.
Zach Mills answered back for the Pontiacs notching his 12th of the campaign just under four minutes later to restore the Bonnyville lead.
Just 26 second after that Chase Olsen knotted the game back up 2-2.
The Grizzlys offence caught the Pontiacs off guard to start the third period scoring two goals in the first 2:32 of the final frame.
Holmes scored his second of the game 1:27 into the third, before Olsen shoveled in his second of the night at 2:32.
The Grizzlys held a 4-2 lead for the majority of the period before a highlight reel goal sparked the Pontiacs offence.
Alde Dupuis busted down the right side with speed, flipped a saucer pass over two defenders sticks right on the tape of Zach Mills, who made no mistake firing it past Kurtis Champman.
Derek Brown tied the game up two minutes later, scoring with 2:46 left on the clock.
Chapman stoned Ryan Piche, Josh Borynec and Kyler Hehn in the shootout, making a spectacular diving stick save on Borynec to grab the victory for Olds.
“We weren’t on our game. I thought we only played about half of the game,” said forward Ryan Symington. “We didn’t play the game that we know we have to and it showed with what the score was.”
Canucks shock Pontiacs in Calgary
The Calgary Canucks, a team that had been outscored 14-1 by Bonnyville in two previous meetings between the two squads, managed to hold the Pontiacs to a single goal on Saturday night pulling out a 2-1 overtime victory.
After Alden Dupuis won the faceoff back to the point, defenceman Erik Donald snapped a wrist shot on goal and managed to float it past an unsuspecting Logan Drackett, who never saw the shot coming.
The Donald point shot found its way past Drackett at the 16:00 mark of the opening period to give Bonnyville the early 1-0 lead.
The goal held up until the second minute of the third period.
Canucks forward Kyler Magnus picked off a pass in the neutral zone, drove hard to the goal with speed, cut hard right to left and tucked the puck past Olivier Charest.
With the game tied and about seven minutes remaining Calgary crashed the goal and thought they had taken the lead. On a goalmouth scramble, which saw Charest making snow angles in the crease, the puck hit the left post, trickled into the crease dangerously close to the goal line before being cleared out of the way.
The referees convened, discussed the play, got some input from the goal judge before deciding there was no goal.
“We allowed both Olds and the Calgary Canucks to create so much offensive time in our zone,” said head coach and GM Rick Swan. “We have to play within a structure and it takes time for our young guys to be able to understand what that structure is.”
The Canucks eventually converted their offensive zone time into a the game-winning goal 2:31 into overtime.
Allan MacPherson fed a pass to Andrew Marshall in the slot, who spun and fired a rocket of a wrist shot of the crossbar and in to send the majority of the 97 fans in attendance home happy.
Oilers shutout Pontiacs
Okotoks Oilers netminder Brian Wilson posted a 25 saves shutout in a 3-0 win over the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs on Sunday evening in Okotoks.
While Bonnyville put forth their best effort of the three game road swing, it wasn’t enough to get back the 3rd place Oilers.
After a scoreless first 24:28, it was a Bonnyville powerplay that allowed the Oilers to score first.
Colin O’Neill chased down a puck that hopped over the stick of Kyler Hehn at the blue line, skated into the Bonnyville zone dropped it to Jordie Lawson who ripped a wrist shot past Olivier Charest.
The Oilers added to their lead 8:48 into the third period when Colin O’Neill snapped a shot from the left faceoff dot past Charest who was facing traffic in the form of Nolan Thompson parked in the crease.
The goal allowed Okotoks to pull ahead with just over 11 minutes left in the game.
Minutes later they put the final nail in the coffin.
O’Neill found the puck in the slot, spun and fired a shot at Charest, while the Pontiacs net minder caught a piece of the puck it bounces down between his legs and trickled through the blue paint over the goal line.
The 3-0 win moved Okotoks up to 40 points, while the Pontiacs sat at 53 points.
Bonnyville will play two more games before the Christmas break on Dec. 18 and 19 when they host the Drayton Valley Thunder in back-to-back home games.