Opening Weekend delivered
The Pioneers started off the season with a bang treating fans to an exciting double header weekend of hockey. Their Home Opener against rivals the Fox Creek Ice Kings did not disappoint as the Pioneers came away with a 9-5 win. Coming in to the game after a two week training camp helped the Pioneers as they out worked the Ice Kings and had contributions spread out across the roster. Veteran Dustin Acakabee lead the scoring with assists from Dixon and Gryba-Smith. The Pioneers then got two more unassisted, even strength goals from Corbeil and Zago and two power play additions from Wesley Gryba-Smith (S.Williams, Lovely) and captain Seth Williams (Lovely, Blackhawk) to lead the game 5-1 after the first.
The second period started with three unanswered from Fox Creek - a power play goal, even strength goal and short handed. Jaye Dixon put an end to the Ice Kings streak getting another power play goal from Corbeil and Whiteknife. The third period was all Pioneers and Oliver Lovely as he notched three goals to put the Ice Kings away and send them home with a 9-5 loss and an appreciation for the new Pioneers. Ten new players made their Pioneers debut including goaltender Quavis Crane and ten players got on the scoresheet demonstrating the depth of the roster carefully built by GM and Head Coach Steve Arsenault.
The second night of the double header brought newcomers the Northern Alberta Lightning to town. Not sure what to expect, the Pioneers quickly saw themselves down 2-0 midway through the first. Regrouping, the Pioneers scored four unanswered goals to go up on the lightning 4-2. Oliver Lovely lead the charge with 2 goals and 2 assists and saw great connection with Brandon Corbeil who also had a goal and an assist. Kale Williams rounded out the scoring in the first.
Carter Bergseth of the Lightning took matters into his own hands and tied it up once again with 2 goals to start the second period. Captain Seth Williams had the only special teams goal of the night notching a power play goal to take the lead back heading into the room for the second break. Both teams wanted to come away with the win and stayed disciplined throughout the third with no penalties being called and shots equal at 19. Corbeil and Lovely connected again to lead the Lightning by two half way through the third. Reagan Thomas played spoiler as he put two past rookie goaltender Austin Trieber, who made 53 saves in the game, to take the game to overtime. Overtime solved nothing despite the Pioneers getting a power play and the two teams headed to shootout with the Lightning prevailing to steal this one 7-6.
Despite the loss, the Pioneers showcased a new level of play that excited fans, players and staff. The Pioneers will get their toughest test next weekend as they take on High Prairie and Edson. Be sure to follow our social media to find out where to catch the games.