After weathering the storm through 20 minutes, the Lloydminster Bobcats found their game early in the second period, jumping ahead of the Bonnyville Pontiacs on their way to a 3-2 win tonight at the Civic Centre.
PHOTO COURTESY MERIDIAN BOOSTER
Despite being outshoot 18-6 in the first period, the hometown Bobcats, wearing retro Lloydminster Lancers jerseys for the first time this season, entered the middle frame with a blank slate against the Pontiacs. 6:17 into the second period, it was the Bobcats breaking the ice as Kevin Darrar took a feed from Morgan Messenger before beating Olivier Charest to make it 1-0 for the home team.
Just second after the ensuing face, Pontiacs forward Chad Hurtubise and Bobcats defenceman Stefan Wood squared off in Bobcats territory for a lopsided fight that brought the Civic Centre crowd to its feet. In his first fight since coming over to the Bobcats, Wood put his skill set on display for the 1320 fans in attendance, keeping momentum on the Cats side with their freshly earned one goal lead.
The Bobcats would strike again minutes later as a sprawling Kris Spriggs worked the puck across to Messenger at the offensive blue line, who in turn dished to Troy Van Tetering who put the puck over Olivier Charest to make it 2-0. With all three line mates getting in on the first two goals, each extended point streaks they brought into the game. For Messenger, the forward now has points in nine straight games, scoring six goals and eight assists in that span. Spriggs has now hit the score sheet in six straight games, including assists in the last four. The late November acquisition is looking more and more comfortable with his new team, putting up three goals and four assists in his last six games. Lastly, Van Tetering has registered a point in every game of 2016, scoring two goals and three gassiest in four games.
Carrying a 2-0 lead into the third period, the Bobcats sense of control was taken away early in the third as Pontiacs captain Steen Pasichnuk found a loose puck that had gotten through Bobcats goaltender Alex Leclerc from a shot by Ryan Piche, knocking it in to cut the lead to 2-1. Minutes later, the Bobcats would get their fifth power play of the night, and for the fifth straight time, they failed to convert.
However, the Pontiacs were unable to take advantage of any momentum from the successful kill, as the Bobcats responded minutes later when Darrar crashed the net at the end of a long, dominant shift in Pontiacs territory, and found a rebound for his second goal of the night to make it 3-1 Bobcats.
The Pontiacs answered back with a power play goal later in the period, with Bryan Gerstenfeld beating Leclerc on a one-timer, but that's all the Pontiacs would muster as the Bobcats held on for a 3-2 lead.
Earning his 22nd win of the season, Leclerc made 36 saves, including 18 in the first period to keep the score even at 0-0. On the other end, Olivier Charest suffered his sixth loss of the year while making 30 saves on 33 shots.
The Bobcats power play struggled tonight, failing to convert on six opportunities. The Pontiacs were able to break through once out of five man advantage situations.
The Bobcats will look to add another win this weekend as they head to Spruce Grove to take on the Saints on Sunday afternoon at 2:00PM.