WESTLOCK - Four unanswered first-period goals combined with clutch goaltending added up to a convincing 7-4 win for the Westlock Senior Warriors over the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Played at the Rotary Spirit Centre Nov. 18, the victory improved the Warriors to 4-2-0-1 and solidified their hold on fourth place in the North Central Hockey League.
Captain Mike Ivey admitted that they got a little sloppy after racing out to a 4-0 lead in the opening 10 minutes, but they were able to buckle down and ride the hot goaltending of Jordan Brand, who was named the first star of the game, for their second win in as many meetings against Bonnyville.
“It’s nice that we’ve had back-to-back games where we scored seven goals, but we were pretty bad defensively and Jordan really stepped up and stole that one for us,” said Ivey. “I think they kind of took it to us for a good chunk of the game. A win is a win, but that one wasn’t a pretty one for sure.”
The Warriors came out sizzling with goals from Chris Brand, Austin Grundner, Jesse Morrison and a shorthanded marker from Ivey before the midway point of the first period. But the Warriors let their foot off the gas and the Pontiacs slowly got back into the game and managed to squeeze one in with seven seconds left in the period.
The Pontiacs refused to quit and managed to pot two in the second, while a goal from Garry Mindus turned out to be the eventual game winner. In the third, Mindus added his second of the night and was named the game’s second star, while Scott Ivey found the back of the net and Bonnyville countered with a single to make the final 7-4.
“When you get a bit of a lead like we did, I think guys tend to take a few more risks and we took a few too many that led to them getting more scoring chances than what they should have.”
The Warriors end the month this coming Saturday, Nov. 26, at home when they host the Red Deer Rustlers at 8:30 p.m. While the Rustlers are sitting around .500, Ivey said they’re a tough squad and will be a good test.
“They’re a good hockey team, I think they have the two top scorers in the league … they’re very talented,” said Ivey. “We’re excited as it’s a big game based on the standings.”