A three-goal lead wasn’t enough for the Lloydminster Baker Hughes Bobcats, as the Canadian Athletic Club erased a 3-0 Bobcats second period lead, eventually winning in overtime, 5-4.
It was Game 2 of the Alberta Midget Hockey League’s division finals, and after a slow start in Game 1 and a collapse in Game 2, the Bobcats are one game away from elimination and their season coming to an end.
“We had the effort and, again, discipline bit us,” said Bobcats head coach Travis Clayton. “We can’t be taking selfish penalties, we just can’t. They scored two power-play goals and a short handed goal and that is the difference in the hockey game.”
After a 4-0 shutout in Game 1 where the Bobcats showed little life and more trips to the penalty box, Game 2 started in a much better favour for Lloydminster, as Tanner Fleck and Zane Franklin each scored a goal and got an assist in a 2-0 first period lead. The momentum continued into the second when Kobe Mohr put the Bobcats in front by three goals. However, as in Game 1, the Bobcats started the parade to the penalty box, and CAC took advantage.
Andrew Marshall scored on the power play to make it a 3-1 game, which sparked the turnaround for CAC. Still in the second, Brayden Hyland cut the lead to one after scoring just a few seconds after a power play. And with the period coming to a close and the Bobcats looking to keep their lead, Derek Brown caused a turnover at centre ice and scored on Bobcats goalie Ryan Gilchrist over the shoulder with one second remaining on the clock.
In the third, Lloydminster would retake the lead on a Chandler Klien redirect, however, Marshall would get his second of the game, again on the power play, tying the game at 4-4. The rest of regulation would solve nothing so the game entered a 10-minute overtime period.
CAC wouldn’t need the full 10 minutes. Four minutes into the extra frame, Marshall, with already two goals and three points on the night, would play the home-spoiler for the Bobcats, scoring his hat-trick goal, giving CAC the 5-4 victory.
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More importantly, it also gave the Athletic Club a 2-0 series lead in their best-of-five series.
“We got to regroup the series is far from over,” said Clayton. “We just got to take in one game at a time, get a road win and bring it back home.”
Discipline has been the factor in the series so far, as five of CAC’s nine goals in the series have been on the power play. With the series turning back to Edmonton for Game 3, Clayton said it was imperative that the Bobcats stay out of the penalty box and not allow their top line the chance on the man advantage.
Franklin, who had a goal and four points on the night, said some of the penalties could be from frustration of blowing a three goal lead, and if Lloydminster wants to get back in the series, the Bobcats need to loosen up.
“After a three goal lead is given up you start gripping your stick a little tight, you want to be that guy who scores the goal and you start doing stuff not as a teammate,” said Franklin. “We just have to stick together as a team, play our game and we’ll be alright.”
Lloydminster will now have to win their next three games in order for their season to continue. With the task in front of them, confidence is still high in the locker room that the Bobcats can get the job done. Clayton felt the Bobcats controlled Game 2, and if they show up that way in Game 3, keeping the penalties to a minimum, then the series could easily go the distance.
“We just have to play desperate,” said Clayton. “Desperate hockey, smart hockey and whatever happens, happens. But I like our chances if we work hard like we did in the first 30 minutes of the game.”
Game 3 is tonight in Edmonton with an 8:15 p.m. puck drop. Game 4, if needed, would come back to Lloydminster on Sunday at 2 p.m.