Saints Hold off Pontiacs for 6-5 Win
By: Adam Kulak
It was a wild game this afternoon here at the Grant Fuhr Arena with the Saints coming out on top. They explode for 5 goals in the second and hold on for a 6-5 win against the Bonnyville Pontiacs and they gain more separation from them in the North Division standings. It was a good bounce back win after a tough night in Okotoks on Friday and the Saints came ready to play in this game.
After coming out flat against Okotoks Friday night, the Saints had a strong start to this game. They were all over Bonnyville for the first few minutes of the game and controlled the puck in the offensive zone. However, the Pontiacs were able to weather that early storm and they got better as the period went on.
It would be Bonnyville who struck first in this game at the midway point of the opening period. There were multiple scrambles in front of the Saints net and one of them would end up costing them. The puck would pop out to Josh Kroon coming in from the point and his shot would find its way through everyone to give the Pontiacs the 1-0 lead.
The Saints killed off a Bonnyville powerplay later in the period, but they weren?t able to get on the board themselves. The shots were 15-13 after 20 for the Saints as the period would end with only Bonnyville finding the back of the net.
The first shift or two of the second was shaky but after that, the Saints put on quite the show the rest of the period. They would start things off with two straight powerplay goals in the first 6 minutes of the period. Brayden Nicholetts would pick up the rebound off a Nick Leyer shot to tie this game up at 1. A few minutes later on their next powerplay, Ryan Conroy would set Nick Leyer up for a one-time blast that beats Easton Hesse to give the Saints the 2-1 lead early in the middle frame.
Halfway through the period, Seth Fyten would show great patience with the puck, circling the net and putting out front with a beauty play to Sam Popowich as he extends this lead to 3-1. The Saints weren?t done, as Brett Trentham would stop up in the zone and hit Olson Werenka coming down the pipe. His first shot was stopped but he put in the second opportunity for his first goal in a Saints uniform.
Bonnyville started getting very undisciplined in the second, they gave the Saints several opportunities on the powerplay and the Saints took full advantage. Unfortunately, Bonnyville would capitalize on their only powerplay of the period as Thomas Kramer would walk in on a 2 on 1 and rip on over the shoulder of Matt Davis to get on back for the Pontiacs.
It looked like the Saints were going into the locker room with a 4-2 lead but with 4 seconds left, Sam Popowich would show great hand eye and redirect an Adam Hall shot from the corner for his second of the afternoon. The Saints outshot the Pontiacs 15-8 in the middle frame, and they had 5 goals to show for it. They will head into the final 20 minutes holding a 5-2 lead over their division rival.
The Saints decided to try and keep scoring and they would add another one just under 2 minutes into the period. Cole Basnett would fire a shot on a 2 on 1 and Adam Hall put home the rebound opportunity to give the Saints a 6-2 lead early in the third period. It was important that the Saints get that 6th goal because things started to unravel a bit as the period went on.
Just like Bonnyville in the second period, the Saints started to take too many penalties later in the third and Bonnyville took advantage of it. On a 5 on 3 powerplay, Matthew McKim would set up Daine Dubois for the one-timer to make it a 6-3 game. A few minutes later, on the Saints 5th penalty of the period, Matthew McKim would close the lead to within two as he beats Matt Davis to make it 6-4.
With just over 3 minutes to play in the period, an unfortunate bounce some how found its way into the back of the net. Reilly Connors would get credit for the goal and the Saints 6-2 lead earlier in the period started to evaporate. Bonnyville pulled Easton Hesse with a minute left as the Saints started to hang on, blocking shots and getting pucks out.
I?m sure Adam Hall didn?t expect his 6-2 goal to be the game winner but that?s how this crazy game ended up. Bonnyville pushed hard for the tying goal but the Saints would survive a scare and pull this game out by a final score of 6-5. Nick Leyer, Sam Popowich, Adam Hall, and Ryan Conroy all had multi point games in this one and the Saints had 5 different goal scorers on route to this win.
The Saints will hit the road this weekend for a rematch with Bonnyville Friday night and a Saturday night contest with Fort McMurray.