The league playoffs for all of the Ponoka Minor Hockey teams kicked off this past weekend and there remain a few still in contention for a banner.
Only one of three Ponoka squads were left standing in the Northern Alberta Tier I Interlock league playoffs following the first round of games.
The Fountain Tire Midget Wolves beat Battle River in both contests by a score of 5-1. On home ice Feb. 25 it was Kaiden Thomson, Lewis McDowell, Jayden Hagemann, Cyrus Thompson and Tyler Hoar doing the scoring for Ponoka. In Killam the next day, Hagemann scored twice with singles from Thompson, McDowell and Tristan Johnson. The Wolves now take on regular season champion Drayton Valley with best-of-three series starting March 4 in Drayton Valley and Game two March 5 (noon) in Ponoka. Game three, if necessary, is set for Drayton Valley March 6.
Both the Moose and Elks were knocked out, with the Moose suffering a particularly difficult outcome.
The Moose beat Sturgeon 8-3 in Ponoka on Feb. 24 with Erik Mathieu and Mathias Sandin each scoring twice with Luke Bonnett, Braeden Toporowski, Colter Bresee and Levi Busat netting the other goals. However, the club had its heart ripped out with just seconds left Saturday in an 8-2 loss in Morinville.
Bonnett had the lone goal of the opening frame, but Sturgeon rattled off five straight goals before Eric Taylor gave the Moose a bit of live five minutes into the third. Unfortunately, Sturgeon would get that back three minutes later, then tie the two-game, total goal series with 34 seconds remaining followed by the series winner with only two seconds left in the third.
While the Elks were dumped 9-2 in Camrose Saturday then lost 4-3 at home Sunday. Adam Hoog and Luke Simanton scored in Camrose, while Simanton, Josh David and Austin Griffiths scored on Sunday.
The weekend was also busy for a few other Ponoka clubs, all of which are competing for a North Central Minor Hockey League title.
The Servus Credit Union bantams are in tough following an 11-7 loss at home Sunday to Maskwacis. Ashton Bandet had four goals for Ponoka with the others coming from Cole Fankhanel, Ethan Little and Ashton Johnson. Game two will go in Maskwacis March 4 with the winner taking on Viking in the league final.
All signs point to a league title for the Quality Paint and Collision peewee club after 14-1 win at home Saturday in the first game of the league final over Maskwacis. Nathan Parker and Jaiden Bandet each got a hat trick with Daylan Owen and Dylan Jones each netting two in the victory, while the other goals came from Trace Tonneson, Kevin Kammer, Carson Richter and Nevin Thompson. The second game of the series goes March 3 in Maskwacis.
For the McDonalds atom club, it was a wild affair Saturday at home as the team hung on for a 12-11 win over Coronation. Jesse Tkach scored four times, Parker and Kian McLean each netted three and Tonneson had a pair in the victory. Game two goes March 4 in Coronation with game three (if necessary) March 5 in Ponoka.
Meanwhile, the Vantage Physiotherapy atom club was knocked out after a 12-4 loss Saturday at home versus Daysland. Scoring for Ponoka was Kavan Flewelling, Matias Czapp, Hudson Cutarm and Finn Nelson.