HOME GAME 15 RECAP: SAINTS FALL TO PONTIACS 3-2 IN OT.
By Adam Kulak
In the last home game before Christmas and an important divisional game, the Saints play well but they couldn’t quite close it out in overtime as the Pontiacs take it 3-2 and move into a tie with Sherwood Park for the Division lead. Recent call up Logan Acheson would make his Home Debut for the Saints and would play on a pairing with Jaxsen Wyatt. Liam McCloskey would get the start in goal tonight as the Saints would look to pull closer to Bonnyville in the standings.
Both teams came out fast in the opening period of this game. A little sloppy for the first few minutes as both teams were aggressive on the forecheck and neither team could exit their zone cleanly. A few penalties in this period as both teams were getting into some rough stuff. It would be Bonnyville who would strike first as Luke Albert would get the rebound on the doorstep after a scramble in front. The Saints had a couple of powerplays and looked good on them but couldn’t find the back of the net. Shots in the period were 10-8 for the Saints but the Pontiacs would lead 1-0 after 20 minutes.
It would only take the Saints 1:23 into the second to tie the game up. Cole Basnett would burry the rebound at the right side of the goal for his 13th of the season. The 2nd period was more in the Pontiacs favor possession wise, as they outshot the Saints 12-4 in the middle frame. They had a lot of zone time in the period and created a lot of quality chances off the rush. More penalties in this period as each team took two minors, but both teams penalty killers did a great job of killing them off. The shots through 40 were 20-14 for Bonnyville as the game would be tied going into the 3rd.
The Saints responded with a strong final 20 minutes, they were aggressive on the puck, forcing Bonnyville to make quicker decisions then they would like. Everything happened in the first 5 minutes of the period and the rest of the period was back and forth chances denied by both goaltenders. The Pontiacs took the lead back 4 minutes in on the Powerplay as Bobby Young would beat McCloskey off a feed from Luke Albert. Just a minute later, Logan Ganie would respond for the Saints with an absolute snipe bar down for his 8th of the season to tie it at 2. 60 minutes wouldn’t be enough for these two teams as we would go to 3v3 OT to decide this one.
Bonnyville had the puck for most of the OT period but the Saints started to get chances in the later half of the 5-minute frame. There was exciting end to end chances for both teams, Stanley Cooley came within inches of twinning the game as the puck squeaked through and sat in front of the goal line, but Bonnyville was able to get it away. The Saints came close a few times but unfortunately a Saint player blew a tire and Marc-Antoine Benoit would take a beauty cross crease feed from Luke Albert to beat McCloskey and end the game for the Pontiacs, dropping the Saints to 22-11-2 on the season.
Logan Ganie was arguably the best player on the ice tonight, he was forechecking hard and had several chances tonight, including his snipe in the 3rd period. With several regulars out, especially on the back end, Jaxsen Wyatt and Ryan Harker have really stepped up to take on bigger roles and they are big reasons that the Saints are in every game. Liam McCloskey was good in net tonight battling through sticks and bumps from Bonnyville players and made big saves throughout regulation.
The Saints are back in action tomorrow night as they are in Whitecourt to take on the Wolverines. They are back home Sunday, December 30th as they welcome the Sherwood Park Crusaders, puck drop at 7:00pm.