On a team that will certainly find itself in several dramatic moments this season, new Bobcat Kris Spriggs showed an ability to perform in high stakes as he sealed a 4-3 overtime win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons with this second goal in two games since being acquired from the Nipawin Hawks.
30 seconds into 3 on 3 overtime, 'Cats defenceman Christian Lloyd stopped up inside the blue line and fed Spriggs as he moved towards the goal before beating Ravi Dattani with a backhand off the post and in. After scoring the marker that brought the teddy bears down last night at the Civic Centre, Spriggs found a way to thrill the crowd again. The goal was an exclamation point on a game that the Bobcats were constantly trying to claw back into.
PHOTO: FIVEPENNY PHOTOS
Despite coming out fast in the first period, the Bobcats found themselves down early to the Oil Barons as affiliated player Mackenzie Mindus scored his first AJHL goal in the first period of his first game. Minutes later, the MOB would add to the lead as Shawn Weber beat Bobcats netminder Alex Leclerc with a sneaky shot from in close to make it 2-0. However, the Bobcats would cut into the lead before the end of the period to get momentum back on their side.
Leading a rush into the offensive zone, Noah Bauld threw the puck towards teammate Kevin Darrar, and it banked off the skate of Oil Barons defenceman Marcus Kichton and past Dattani, who had been stymying the Bobcats to that point. The momentum would continue for the home team in the second period.
Near the midway point of the middle frame, Taylor Mulder deflected a Graydon Smith point shot past Dattani to draw the game even at 2-2. The goal was Mulder's second of the season, and his third point in two games against Fort McMurray this weekend. Things would shift back in favour of Fort McMurray later in the period as Alex Pernitsky was sent off for cross checking to give the MOB their first powerplay of the night.
As all four Bobcats went to the bench for a line change, Dattani launched a pass to Taner Miller, who took it into the zone before saucering a feed over to Connor McCallum as he drove the net. McCallum caught the feed and beat Leclerc to regain the lead for the visitors, which would stand through 40 minutes.
Trailing 3-2, the 'Cats applied steady pressure throughout the third period, and were finally rewarded with 6:31 to play as Christian Lloyd gathered the puck just inside the blueline in the offensive zone after a long shift in Fort McMurray territory. Lloyd found space to walk into a slapshot as Noah Bauld crossed in front of him to create an immediate screen, and blasted the puck off the short side post and in past Dattani to tie the game 3-3.
From there, Spriggs would take care of the rest of the theatrics to clinch the win for the Bobcats.
With the win, the Bobcats hold their position in second place in the AJHL's North Division ahead of Wednesday's meeting with the Bonnyville Pontiacs at the Civic Centre.