Gordon Anderson/Courtesy of meridianbooster.com
The Lloydminster Bobcats won a close game.
Chase Martin stopped 35 shots as the ‘Cats squeezed by the Sherwood Park Crusaders 2-1 at the Sherwood Park Arena Wednesday night.
Head coach Ryan Parent said it was a complete effort and it was nice to be rewarded with a victory.
“We had excellent goaltending,” he said. “I thought for much of the game we defended very well and we had enough offence to get us the win.”
The Bobcats have had decent success against the Crusaders (12-11-2) this season. They have won two and lost one in three games against Sherwood Park this month.
Parent said the Crusaders are, despite the 10-point bulge, about the same calibre team as his guys and they are gunning for them.
“We’ve identified Sherwood Park as a team that is right in our sights,” Parent said. “The North (division) is a very tight race and we’re going to be right there for a playoff spot. We’re just going to keep wedging our way in, bit by bit, until we have a firm hold on a playoff spot.”
The Bobcats (6-15-4) took three penalties on the night, which is a vast improvement over the weekend against Drayton Valley where they took 10 minors on Friday evening and seven on Saturday.
The ‘Cats can’t afford to spend 15-20 minutes a game in the box, in fact, no team can.
“We’ve addressed the issue of crappy penalties,” Parent said. “Our guys have finally bought into the fact that you can’t win games from the penalty box.”
The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead at 9:45 of the first period when Danny Smith beat Martin.
The ‘Cats evened the game at 10:26 of the second when Braden Crone scored his seventh of the year.
Tanner Dunkle got his first point as a Bobcat, on the Crone goal, and Parent said he was full value for his effort.
“I thought he played an outstanding game, Parent said. “That’s what we’re looking for in him and we got it tonight.”
Jason Wark got the winner with 1:21 remaining in the third period and the Bobcats held on from there, despite being outshot 16-4 in the final 20 minutes.
Up next for the Bobcats is a back-to-back scenario. They play the Bonnyville Pontiacs on the road tonight and return home for a Saturday game against the Okotoks Oilers.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre.