It wasn't pretty, but the Bobcats got the job on Friday night as Austin MacDonald scored just 39 seconds over time to give the Bobcats a 1-0 win over the visiting Drayton Valley Thunder. The Bobcats were sitting in 3rd place in the North Division standings with a record of 16-13-3 and looking for valuable points to separate themselves from multiple teams chasing them in the standings. Meanwhile the 10-18-3 Drayton Valley Thunder sat 6 points out of a playoff spot heading into Friday's match-up, and were looking for their first win in 7 games.
The Bobcats took it to the Thunder in the first period, getting 16 shots on Thunders' Mitch Martell, but were not able to find the scoresheet. Drayton Valley was also shutout in the first, and were not able to capitalize on a 5 on 3 powerplay midway through the period.
In the second period Bobcats continued to get shots towards the Thunder goal but were unable to find the first goal of the game. Goaltender Sean Kuehn was solid when called upon stopping 17 shots through 2 periods.
The third period was the same story as the previous two, Bobcats led on the shot chart 9-6 in the period and 37-23 after 60 minutes. This one needed overtime.
It only took 39 seconds for the Bobcats to send the fans home happy as Austin McDonald picked up a Tanner Dunkle rebound and tucked it behind Drayton Valley netminder Mitch Maretll for the 1-0 overtime Bobcats win. Grant Baker had the second assist on the play. The third place Bobcats go to 17-13-3 through 33 games and get a valuable two points to put themselves three points ahead of the fourth place Whitecourt Wolverines, who did not play on Friday evening. Sean Kuehn made 23 saves for his first career AJHL shut-out.
Head coach Garry VanHereweghe was happy with his team's result tonight, despite being shutout through 60 minutes, “we found a way to win a hockey game, and the most important thing is we got the 2 points tonight. We've put ourselves in a situation where we can have a very good weekend.” VanHereweghe cautioned that the Thunder will be even hungrier in the second of two home games tomorrow night against Drayton Valley, “We know they are going to come out that much harder, so we will need to be ready.”
The Bobcats and the Thunder get right back at it in Lloydminster at 7:30 PM tomorrow night for the annual Teddy Bear Toss Night. Children 12 and under are reminded to bring a teddy bea to get free admission to the game and throw the teddy bears on the ice when the Bobcats score their first goal!