Saints beat Pontiacs 4-1 in first meeting of the Season
By: Adam Kulak
Game 2 of the AJHL North Semi Final last spring was the last time the Saints were in this building. Jordan Biro scored the double overtime winner as the Saints would go on to sweep the Pontiacs in 4 straight games. Returning to this arena for the first time this season, the Saints channelled what made them successful last spring. They would jump out to a 2-0 lead in the first which paced the way to a 4-1 victory here at the RJ Lalonde Arena.
The first shift of the game was a bit shaky, as the Saints had trouble getting out of their zone. They eventually settled in and started to take the play to Bonnyville as the opening period went on. They spent a lot of time in the offensive zone and managed to generate a number of good scoring chances.
Stanley Cooley would get things rolling with a goal 7 minutes in. He would pick up the rebound on the doorstep to beat Easton Hesse to open the scoring. A few minutes later on the Powerplay, another rebound goal as Grahame Gamache would put a shot on net and the rebound would come right to Ryan Harker for his first goal in the AJHL, giving the Saints a two-goal lead.
Shots in the period were 13-6 in favor of the Saints as they would lead this game 2-0 heading into the second period.
The same story in the second period as the Saints continued to create opportunities. The Saints would add to their lead in the second half of the period once again on the Powerplay. Brayden Nicholetts at the side of the net would jam it home for his first goal in a Saints jersey. It would also be his first of the season, stretching their lead to three.
The Saints have had a number of chances on the Powerplay this game and they have made Bonnyville pay so far in this game. The shots in the period were 11-7 and 24-13 overall, as the Saints head into the final period with a 3-0 lead.
Bonnyville didn?t go down without a fight and came out with a strong third period. They would get on the board early on the Powerplay as Jeremy Gervais would beat Matt Davis to give the Pontiacs some life.
But the Saints wouldn?t let them get any closer, they would not let up and continue to play their game on route to closing this game out. After taking the penalty that led to Bonnyville?s goal, Seth Fyten would answer back a few minutes later, he would bury the cross-crease feed from Cam Mitchell to give the Saints back the three-goal lead.
This three-goal lead would stay for good, Bonnyville outshot the Saints in the third but the Saints would outshoot them 31-23 overall. On top of a very good night for Matt Davis, the Saints would take the first meeting with Bonnyville by a final score of 4-1.
The Pontiacs just like last playoffs, played a very physical style trying to get the Saints off their game. However, it didn?t work very well last season and it didn?t work tonight as the Saints were not fazed by it and just kept playing.
They were fast and hard on the puck all night long, they made it tough for Bonnyville to get shots through in their own end and their cycle game was strong, getting a lot of zone time and scoring chances off it.
The Saints are right back at it as they will welcome Bonnyville to the Grant Fuhr Arena tomorrow night for the second of a home and home. Puck drop is at 7:00pm, get your tickets here -> https://tickets.sprucegrovesaints.ca/