Saints Beat Pontiacs 6-4 for 4th Straight Win
By: Adam Kulak
It was a very fast and entertaining game tonight at the RJ Lalonde Arena. Just like previous games against Bonnyville, the Saints with help from their powerplay, explode offensively in the second and hold off the Pontiacs 6-4. Basnett, Peckford, Nicholetts and Leyer would find the back of the net and Matt Davis would get win #26 on the season as the Saints are now 9-1-0 in their last 10 games.
VIDEO: Brayden Nicholetts drops with gloves with Chayce Schmidt ????????#AJHL pic.twitter.com/uI1WSVIipH
? Spruce Grove Saints (@sgsaints) February 13, 2020
Overall, it was a good period for the Saints here in the first 20 minutes. They had a strong start, they were moving the puck well, defending well in the neutral zone and were able to turn that into offensive zone time. They would open the scoring 6 minutes in, as Seth Fyten would put it on net and Nick Leyer would put home the rebound in front for the 1-0 Saints lead.
Midway through the period the Pontiacs started to play better and were given a powerplay opportunity as the Saints got caught with too many men. Bonnyville made the Saints pay on it, as Matt McKim would beat Matt Davis off a cross ice one timer from Daine Dubois to tie this game back up at 1.
The Saints were able to bounce back after that and they got back to playing how they did earlier in the period. They weren?t able to find another goal before the end of the period, but they came close quite a few times. Whether it was quick transition plays or chances from the cycle, Easton Hesse was solid in net and kept this a 1-1 game. Shots were 13-7 for the Saints after 1 as we head into the second.
The middle frame saw an offensive explosion by the Saints as they light the lamp early and often here in the second period. They went 3/3 on the powerplay during the period and would add two more to really stretch this lead out. Ryan Peckford would get it started just a minute in as he splits the defense and beats Easton Hesse to give the Saints back the lead.
Peckford would get his second shortly after on the Saints first powerplay. Stanley Cooley would hit him with a stretch pass, and he would use his speed to drive to the net and make this a 3-1 game. Bonnyville would respond a few minutes later on a powerplay of their own as Kash Rasmussen would redirect a shot in front to bring the Pontiacs back to within a goal.
That?s as close as they got in the period as the Saints took over again. 12 seconds into their second powerplay, Ethan Edwards would feed Tanner Klassen at the left half wall and he would feed Cole Basnett back door for the redirect goal to give the Saints a 4-2 lead.
Bonnyville?s penalty killers were spread out with one guy high, that left the middle wide open for cross ice passes and the Saints were able to expose them in this period. They would get their third powerplay just minutes later and Brayden Nicholetts would score on a cross ice pass from Nick Leyer, completing the 3/3 run on the man advantage. That would also be the Gordie Howe Hat-trick for Nicholetts as he had a spirited fight with Chase Schmidt moments later in the period.
Great players have the ability to take over games and that?s exactly what Ryan Peckford did in the second period. Coming into the period tied at 1, he would score two quick goals early and late in the period, he would finish a backdoor feed to complete the second period hat-trick and to make it 6-2 for the Saints. Shots were 26-14 for the Saints after 40 minutes as the period would end there.
The Saints played a solid third period and held Bonnyville off to win this game. The Pontiacs came out hard trying to make a push, as Ethan Sunder would score for the Pontiacs 3 minutes in to make it 6-3. The Saints weren?t fazed, and they just kept playing their game, they blocked a ton of shots in the third period and they also got two powerplays and put the pressure on as well.
They wouldn?t score on either of them but their powerplay still looked very strong, they were moving the puck quickly, east/west, and forced Easton Hesse to make some more big saves. But Bonnyville didn?t go away and they had as many shots in the third as they did through the first two periods.
They had a golden opportunity with a 5 on 3 late in the game, shot after shot and block after block, the Pontiacs would finally break trough as Lucas Thorne?s shot would bank off Joel Ray to make it a 6-4 game with a minute left to play. That would give them a small bit of life, but they would soon lose it as they take a 4-minute penalty to help the Saints close out the 6-4 win.
The Saints came out strong and continued that through the first two periods. They only managed 1 goal in the first, but the flood gates sure opened in period #2. The Saints had 4 different goal scorers in this game highlighted by Ryan Peckford putting up a hat-trick in the middle frame.
Matt Davis made several very good saves in this game, arguably his biggest came just seconds into the second period with a breakaway stop on Matt McKim. That could?ve maybe changed things for Bonnyville but that helped the Saints regroup and that helped lead to their offensive outburst.
The Saints will take on Bonnyville again this Sunday afternoon as they host the Pontiacs at the Grant Fuhr Arena. Puck drop is 2:00 PM and stay for the Saints autograph session after the game.