Bonnyville Pontiacs vs Lloydminster Bobcats Monday, December 30th, 2019
Written by: Tyler Campbell
For the 3rd time this season, the Bonnyville Pontiacs came to Lloydminster to take on the Bobcats. For the 3rd time this season, the two teams played a hard and exciting game at the Centennial Civic Centre. And for the 3rd time this season, the Lloydminster Bobcats went unrewarded after a strong effort against the Pontiacs as Bonnyville left Lloyd with a 5-2 victory despite being outshot 43-34.
The Pontiacs got on the board first at 8:15 of the frame as Lucas Thorne converted on a cross seam pass from Matthew McKim on the power play, and it was 1-0. Daine Dubois made it 2-0 at 16:26 of the period after Cats netminder Josh Dias made a tremendous save, he could not find the rebound before Dubois did who poked it in and it would remain 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
In the 2nd, the Bobcats would receive four different power play opportunities (actually, five, but one was only 5 seconds in length). Ironically though, it would be a shorthanded tally that got the Cats on the board as Tyson Kowaluk got his first goal in his young AJHL career as he walked in and ripped one past Pontiacs starter Easton Hess to cut the lead to 2-1. Reilly Connors restored the 2 goal lead for the Pontiacs at 18:04 of the period as he got a rebound off Dias and found himself with time and a virtually empty net to put it in and the Pontiacs would carry that lead into the 3rd.
As the game went on, so did the physical play. These two teams simply do not like each other, and the penalties were mounting. 58 total minutes in penalties in this one, culminating in a real good fight between the Bobcats Tanner Mack and the Pontiacs Curtis Hammond. Afterwards with the Cats still trailing by 2, they found themselves on an extended 5 on 3 power play. However, disaster would strike as the Cats had trouble getting setup, Josh Dias attempted to play a puck that ended up on the stick of the Pontiacs Tommy Kramer and he put it in the open net to make it 4-1. Mack Stewart would respond for the Cats on that same power play (5 on 4) to cut the lead back to 2 with 4:49 left to play. But once again, this time just 43 seconds later, it would again be a Cats turnover, and again would be Kramer to take advantage of it and beat Dias to make it 5-2 Pontiacs which would hold up as the final. A very hard fought game by the Bobcats, but one where they just could not get the right bounce when they needed it.
After the game, a disheartened Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube had these thoughts. ?We came out after the break and had some pop in our game, and we pushed. I think (the game) looks a little different than what the scoresheet says. I thought our compete and I thought our work ethic was good throughout the game.? I went onto ask him if the frustration is mounting having played 3 very solid games against the Pontiacs at home, yet coming up empty handed in all 3. ?They?ve been solid efforts, and I don?t think the score dictates what these games were. You make a mistake and they find a way to put it in the back of your net. But it just makes you watch film more and work harder in practice. 21 games to make our push here and I still think we?re more than capable to continue to push for that playoff spot.?
The Bobcats will be back in action at home on Friday night as they play host to the Camrose Kodiaks. Puck drop will be 7:30 at the Centennial Civic Centre. As always, if you can?t make it down to the rink, Shane Tomayer and myself will have the call for you on Hockey TV, and on the MixLR app!