The Wolverines kicked off their second week of the AJHL schedule with back-to-back matchups against their North division rival, Bonnyville Pontiacs.
The Wolverines would take no time getting on the board, Thomas Vela, would put home his first of the year on the PP just 90 seconds into the contest. Last years rookie of the year for the Wolverines would bury a one-time feed from Alex Dominique, Christiano Aiello would pick up the second assist.
Bonnyville would respond before the end of the first period beating second year goaltender Carson Ironside with a pair of goals. Pontiacs Nick Traggio, would score the first goal and pick up an assist on the second.
The middle frame would start even quicker than the first for the Wolverines, captain Tyler Mahan, would beat Pontiacs netminder Bodee Weiss, on the breakaway just :19 seconds into the second period. Christiano Aiello who had a hand in the first Wolverines goal would pick up the loan assist, his second of the game and 3rd point on the season (0-3-3).
Both teams would continue to trade chances in the second and third periods but it would take a mistake from the Pontiacs backend to break the deadlock. After forcing a turnover, Cooper Smyl would set up the nights hero, rookie Ryan Duguay, who would beat Weiss for his first career AJHL goal, which would hold up as the winner.
Ironside making his first start of the season would turn aside 35/37 shots to pick up the win, the Wolverines first victory of the season.
Wolverines Associate coach had this to say about the play of his netminder.
“I thought he made some big saves in the second and third, it was a heck of an effort on his part and it was nice to see him walk away with the win.”
Coming off their first win of the young AJHL season, the Wolverines would look to keep that momentum going into their second game in two nights against the Pontiacs.
Wolverines HC/GM Shawn Martin had this to say heading into the contest
“I thought last nights performance was methodical, we put a game plan out there and executed it to a tee and we’ll have to build off that tonight.”
The Wolverines would not get the same start out of the gate that they had the night before.
The ice would seem tilted in the first as the Wolverines struggled to get any offensive zone time in the first period and would be outshot 9-2 in the frame.
William Grimard who had the night previous night off looked sharp early keeping his Wolverines in the contest after the first period of play, knotted at 0-0.
The offence would start to open up in the second period the Wolverines would go on to out shoot the Pontiacs 14-13 but the Wolverines would be the only club to surrender goals in the period.
Halfway though the second and already on the penalty kill the Wolverines would take another penalty to give Bonnyville a 5-3 advantage.
After a couple of high danger chances were denied by Grimard, a shot from Charlie Russell would ring off the post and land perfectly on the tape of Sebastian Tamburro who would wire it home past Grimard for the first goal of the contest on the PP.
Bonnyville would add another a few minutes later as Nick Traggio would walk into the right circle and with a quick release was able to put one just under the bar to beat Grimard and extend the lead to 2-0 Bonnyville heading to the third.
Down but not out the Wolverines would respond in the third period. Cohner Saleski, would put home his first goal of the campaign beating Hennessey through his five hole, Christiano Aiello would pick up his team leading 4th assist of the season on the play.
Much like the night before the Wolverines would receive a timely goal from rookie Ryan Duguay with less than half of the third period remaining. Travis Baker would collect his first career AJHL point with an assist on the play, Smyl would grab his second point in two games on the play as well.
Going into the last minute of play the contest looked destined for overtime. That would not come to fruition as a late turnover in front of the Wolverines net would result in a goal for Pontiacs defenceman AJ Macaulay with less than 10 seconds left to play.
Even with 8.5 seconds on the clock the resiliant Wolverines would get a chance to tie things up. Thomas Vela stopped a clearing attempt from the Pontiacs and put a shot on net, the rebound would pop out to the opposite side of Tyler Mahan who wouldn’t be able to reach it as the buzzer sounded.
The Wolverines split the weekend 1-1 and are next in action, Tuesday, September 28th, in Grande Prairie.
You can catch the game on HockeyTV or XM105.3FM.