Gordon Anderson/Courtesy of meridianbooster.com
For the fifteenth time this year the Bobcats were involved in a game that was decided by two goals or less.
Again they came out on the wrong end of that dubious stat in a 4-3 loss to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons in overtime at the Civic Centre on Wednesday night.
Fort McMurray forward Harrison Hendrix scored the winning goal at 2:34 of the extra period when he banged home a rebound seconds after missing a wide open net.
Lloydminster now falls to 3-10-2 in games decided by two goals or less.
While head coach Ryan Parent is aware of that stat, he doesn’t know what to make of it. He said the team can only continue to push on, but, mentally, sometimes it’s better to get creamed than lose a tight one.
“In some ways you would almost rather lose 12-0 than by one or two,” Parent said. “We’ve been in a lot of tight hockey games but you have to be mentally tough to persevere in those situations.”
Forward Dustin Lebrun thinks the record is the way it is in close games because they’re not playing a full game.
“It’s usually because we’re not playing a full 60 (minutes),” Lebrun said. “ We’ll blow off the first period and come out in the second and third and be unbelievable but that’s not going to win you a hockey game in this league.”
But in close games sometimes bounces go the right way and sometimes they don’t. Lebrun said that the only way to get the bounces is to work hard and not rely on karma to get the two points for you.
“I think it’s up to us to make our own bounces because of what our record really is,” Lebrun said. “We all have to contribute and create our own luck.”
The Oil Barons scored two goals 20 seconds apart to take a 2-0 lead before the game was five minutes old.
Hendrix scored at 16:28 and Alex Cromwell made it 2-0 just 20 seconds later.
The two-goal lead for Fort Mac (8-9-1) was against the run of play but the Bobcats persevered and were rewarded later in the first period.
Jason Wark narrowed the lead to 2-1 with 9:42 left on a rebound in the low slot and Dustin Lebrun evened the game with 2:30 left.
The Bobcats (3-14-3) ran into some penalty killing problems, taking three straight minors in the first nine minutes of the second, including a 1:47 five-on-three for Fort McMurray but managed to wriggle off the hook with strong penalty kill.
The ‘Cats were a perfect eight-for-eight with the man down but Parent acknowledge the team can’t take that many penalties and expect to win.
Parent said he wants to stop the older guys on the team from spending too much time in the box.
“To be honest with you, we had a lot of dumb penalties,” Parent said. “I’m going to go back over the video but it wasn’t from our 16-year-olds. The penalties are coming from key guys in our line up and that is not acceptable,” Parent said.
Lloyd took the 3-2 lead when Lebrun got his second goal of the night with 11:37 left in the second period on a shot from the slot.
Fort McMurray evened the game with 5:37 left in the period when Luc Lalor beat Chase Martin on a wrap around.
Braden Crone had the best chance to open the scoring for either team at 11:30 of the third when he stole the puck at the Oil Barons’ blue line and went in alone on Oil Barons goalie Ethan Wood but the puck rolled of the end of his stick and bounced into corner.
Casey Knight had a chance for the Bobcats with 6:11 left in the game. He found himself alone in front of the net but his shot clanged off the crossbar.
The Oil Barons appeared to take the lead with 30 seconds left in the third but the goal was disallowed on goalie interference when Martin was bowled over at the top of the crease, setting the stage for their overtime win.
Up next is a Nov. 3 home game against Drayton Valley.
Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.