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Hockey Digest

After Sunday’s 8-1 spanking by the Bonnyville Pontiacs, the St. Albert Steel locked their dressing room door and held a players’-only meeting.

After Sunday’s 8-1 spanking by the Bonnyville Pontiacs, the St. Albert Steel locked their dressing room door and held a players’-only meeting.

The loss at Performance Arena ended a five-game point streak in which the Steel (14-16-1-2) picked up nine out of a possible 10 points, including a pair of wins against the last-place Drayton Valley Thunder (6-24-1-2) in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

The fourth-place Pontiacs (20-14) drove Steel starter Mark Kotylak out of the net with three goals on seven shots in the opening 9:53 minutes of play. After making it 3-0 on the power play, the Pontiacs beat Chris Sharkey with 4:52 left in the first and in the middle frame added three more goals. Kotylak (10-13-2, 4.07 GAA) re-entered the game to start the third. He finished the loss with four goals against on 15 shots. Sharkey (4-3-1, 3.85 GAA) let in four pucks on 20 shots.

It was 7-0 with 1:04 left in the second when Bryce Williamson, the Steel’s top scorer with 56 points on 23 goals and 33 assists in 33 games, was awarded a penalty shot. However, the Bowling Green State University scholarship recipient was stopped by goalie Julien Laplante.

Steel forward Alex Perkins broke Laplante’s shutout bid with a nifty move on the power play at 5:31 of the third. Laplante faced 40 shots overall.

Steel newcomer Jesse Altheim, a defenceman acquired Nov. 26 from the Canmore Eagles for future considerations, showed some moxy by dropping the gloves twice. Altheim, 18, hails from Stony Plain. In his rookie season with Canmore he posted 11 assists and 47 penalty minutes in 2008/09. Before joining the Steel, he had one goal, two assists and 55 PIM in 24 games this season.

The 14th win by the Steel was Friday’s 7-1 drubbing of the Thunder at St. Albert. The Carr brothers, Dan and David, spearheaded the attack on a line centred by Spencer Pommells. David, 20, scored twice and added three assists. Dan, 18, potted a pair and added one assist. Williamson, Taylor Fraser and Reed Linaker also scored. Williamson also had two assists. Period scores were 1-0 and 3-1. Sharkey stopped 32 of 33 shots. The Steel were credited with 45 shots.

The Steel wrap up a four-game homestand this weekend against the south division Drumheller Dragons (10-20-0-4) Friday at 7 p.m. and the Calgary Canucks (19-10-2-1) at Sunday’s teddy bear toss game at 2:30 p.m. Fans are asked to bring a stuffed animal and throw it to the ice after the Steel’s first goal. All teddy bears will be donated to the Kinettes’ Christmas hamper drive.

The Steel has 27 games remaining before the playoffs start. They are entrenched in sixth place, five points back of the fifth-place Sherwood Park Crusaders (16-13-1-3) and seven ahead of the seventh-place Lloydminster Bobcats (10-20-0-4). A fourth-place finish or higher in the standings would give the Steel home ice advantage in the best-of-five opening round.

The St. Albert Flyers swept the Grande Prairie Storm by scores of 4-3 and 5-1 last weekend on the road in the Alberta Minor Midget Hockey League.

The results lifted the third-place Flyers (12-4-1) to within four points of the division lead.

In the first game, Josh Jewett tallied twice and Carson Samoridny and Evan Warmington added singles against the 10th-place Storm (3-13-2). Trevor Poirier added three assists and Jed Groenenboom had a pair. Max Cathcart (6-1, 2.33 GAA) and Jacob Bilodeau combined to stop 20 shots.

In the rematch, Jeffrey Bronetto, Liam McNamara, Samoridny, Poirier and Trace Elson scored. Mitch McNamara collected two assists and his twin brother, Liam, finished with three points. Bilodeau (6-3-1, 2.94 GAA) turned aside 26 shots.

The Flyers are led offensively by Samoridny (17-9-26 in 17 games), Poirier (8-11-19 in 17 games), Liam McNamara (8-10-18 in 16 games) and Elson (8-8-16, 17 games).

The Flyers visit the Leduc Oil Kings (9-4-3) Thursday at 7:15 p.m. Saturday they play the SSAC Bulldogs (13-1-3) at 7:45 p.m. at Kinsmen Arena. Sunday’s tilt with the PAC Saints (14-1-1) starts at 4:15 p.m. at Tri-Leisure Centre.

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