Saints Rally from 0-3 for 5-3 Win over Pontiacs
By: Adam Kulak
After the first 20 minutes of the game, it looked like the Saints were in for a long night. But after a late first period goal, the Saint kept playing and they would score 4 unanswered goals to erase the deficit. Trentham, Fyten, Popowich, Gamache and Leyer would all score as the Saints come back to beat the Bonnyville Pontiacs 5-3 on the road.
Jordan Gustafson would make his AJHL debut after being called up and Brecon Wood would suit up for the first time with the Saints this season. Matt Davis would get the start in looking for win number 21 on the season.
It was very evident in the opening 20 minutes that Bonnyville was ready to play this game. Matt McKim would open the scoring 2 minutes in as he picks up the puck in the slot and roofs it past Matt Davis. Bram Stephen had to call a timeout just under 3 minutes into the game to try and not let this get away early.
Regardless, the Saints continued to struggle for most of the first period. They weren?t crisp with their passes and they were a bit sloppy getting out of their zone. They had a ton of blocked shots in the first because they spent most of the time without the puck.
A few minutes later, Daine Dubois would finish at the side of the net to extend the Pontiacs lead to 2-0 8 minutes into the game. The Saints took three penalties in the first period and they gave Bonnyville plenty of opportunities to extend this lead even more, but Matt Davis and the Saints penalty killers were able to kill them off.
Things would continue to get worse as later in the period, the Saints would turn it over just inside the blueline and Matt McKim would get his 2nd goal of the game. Davis would stop the first shot, but he would get his own rebound to give Bonnyville a 3-0 lead.
Before that goal, the Saints started to play better in the last few minutes of the period. They had multiple shifts with good pressure and chances up until that goal. After the Pontiacs 3rd goal, the Saints would respond just 30 seconds after as Grahame Gamache would beat Easton Hesse right in the slot to get the Saints on the board late.
That?s how the scoring would end after 20 minutes of play as Bonnyville would hold a 3-1 lead. The Saints took a late penalty and the Pontiacs will have over a minute of powerplay time to start the second. The shots were 11-8 for the Pontiacs in the period but the high danger chances were a lot more in Bonnyville?s favor as the Saints will look for a better period in the second.
Things could have gone from bad to worse just 8 seconds in as the Pontiacs had a quick strike chance right off the hop. Matt Davis had to be sharp right away and he was able to deny it to keep the game 3-1. Other then that, it was a pretty uneventful second period with no scoring and just one penalty to the Saints. They would go off for hooking just under 6 minutes in and the Pontiacs looked good on the powerplay, but they couldn?t find the back of the net.
The Saints did start to play better than the period before and they didn?t give Bonnyville a lot in the middle frame. They had more quality chances in the second and they started to spend less time chasing in their own zone. There were a couple times where the Saints could have scored but the puck bounced on them or they couldn?t get the shot off.
The Saints had an 8-7 advantage in shots during the middle frame and the shots were 18-16 overall for the Pontiacs. The Saints will have one more period to try and come back from 3-0 down and win this game or get it to overtime.
With the Saints trailing by two goals, I don?t think the third period could have gone any better than it did. 2 minutes in, Brett Trentham would get a stick on a floating shot from the point by Ethan Edwards to make it 3-2. Right after, the Saints would get their first powerplay of the game and capitalize on it early. Seth Fyten would jam in the puck in the crease as the Saints score two goals in the first 3 minutes of the period to tie this game up at 3.
They came out flying in this period and they outshot the Pontiacs 22-7 in the final 20 minutes of this game. They would keep the pressure on throughout the period and they kept getting rewarded for it. At the 5-minute mark, Sam Popowich would beat Easton Hesse on the doorstep as the Saints stun the Pontiacs and everyone at the RJ Lalonde by taking their first lead of the night.
Bonnyville started to fall apart in the third period, after not taking a penalty through 40 minutes, they took multiple infractions in the third and the Saints were able to capitalize on them in at a critical time of the game.
I?m not sure what was said during the second intermission, but the Saints were a completely different team compared to the first two periods. Bonnyville would get a powerplay late but they couldn?t find the tying goal. Nick Leyer would add an empty netter as the Saints complete the comeback here on the road and remain perfect versus the Pontiacs this season.
It wasn?t the start that the Saints wanted, you never want to go down 3-0 in the first period and have to claw your way back. That?s not an easy recipe for success but the Saints never quit, and they continued to try and turn this game around. Their second period was better than their first and they continued to build on that as the game went on. Then in the third they absolutely took over and put on a clinic to with 4 third period goals to flip this game.
The Saints will look to continue this tomorrow night as they make the trip down to Fort McMurray for a matchup with the Oil Barons.