With one game standing between the Lloydminster Bobcats and three days off between games, Friday's AJHL Showcase matinee did not send the team into the break the way they wanted.
Despite pouring pressure on early in the first period, the Bobcats were unable to find a way to get on the scoreboard. The Brooks Bandits took advantage of that, with Parker Foo getting his new team on the board near the midway point of the opening frame. At the end of one, the score remained 1-0 for Brooks.
On to the second, the Bandits struck early, with Jared Cockrell putting home a backdoor feed from Joe O'Connor just 1:47 into the period to extend the lead to two. However, the Bobcats would push back just minutes later as Morgan Messenger got the Bobcats on the board with his fifth goal of the year to make it 2-1.
Later on in the period, Alex Pernitsky was given a two minute minor and a ten minute misconduct for checking to the head. The 'Cats were able to kill off the penalty, but just seconds after it expired it was Logan Aasman finding an opening on the doorstep to restore the two goal lead for Brooks.
Heading into the third period, the Bobcats found themselves in a similar situation to Thursday night against Camrose, when they came back to force extra time leading to a shootout win, but this time there was no late magic. Moments after Marco Ballarin lost control of the puck on a breakaway, the Bandits took it the other way for a 3 on 1 with Captain Derek Lodermeier backhanding the puck by Diamond to push the score to 4-1.
For the remainder of the period, Brooks kept most of the shots to the outside, stifling any chances generated by the 'Cats. Final shots were 35-27 in favour of Lloydminster, with Josh Davies turning aside 34 of them in the win.
The Bobcats powerplay failed to convert on three opportunites, while Brooks was unable to find the back of the net on four chances with the man advantage. However, Aasman's goal came before the Bobcats were able to get back to even strength with the penalty expiring just seconds earlier.
After picking up two of a possible four points at the AJHL Showcase, the Bobcats will now have three days off before returning to action with a road trip to Drayton Valley on Tuesday and Spruce Grove Wednesday.
Both Graydon Smith and Zac Giroux left the game in the first period for the Bobcats, with injuries sustained blocking shots on the penalty kill. There is no update at this time on their status.
Goaltender Alex Leclerc has now served four games of his five game suspension, and will be eligible to return on Wednesday in Spruce Grove.
The two games next week are the 'Cats final two before getting a weekend off for Thanksgiving.