Cats Unable to Hold on to Early Leads in Season Opening Loss to Spruce Grove

The curtain was raised on a brand new AJHL season Friday night, but unfortunately for the Lloydminster Bobcats the new season began with a loss.

Paying a visit to the defending AJHL champion Spruce Grove Saints, the Cats dropped a 5-2 decision at the Grant Fuhr Arena.

In a game that saw a little bit of everything, the Bobcats were able to jump out to an early lead but it was short lived.

4:03 into the first period, newly acquired Drew Warkentine buried his first career goal as a Lloydminster Bobcat for a 1-0 advantage.

However, it was only 44 seconds later when Alex Dalton beat Bobcat’s goalie Nick Sanders to tie the game 1-1.

The Cats would find themselves back out in front shortly after.

Coming off of a 31 goal season last year, Zach Kaiser picked up where he left off, deflecting home a perfect pass from Tucker Scantlebury.

For the remainder of the first period, the Bobcats looked as if they would be holding that one goal advantage into the first intermission, but that changed quickly.

With just over a minute remaining in the frame Cory Babichuk fired a shot from the high-slot that found the back of the net and tied the game 2-2.

After killing off a pair of first period penalties, Lloydminster got their first crack with the man-advantage, but it did not go as planned.

Tanner Hickey netted a short-handed goal to give the Saints their first lead of the game, and then Jordan Biro doubled the advantage for Spruce Grove just one second after the same penalty had expired.

Leading 4-2 after two, the defending league champions sealed the game late in the final frame with an empty-net goal from Dylan Bourlai.

The Saints went on to out-shoot the Bobcats 37-22. Neither team was able to convert on the power-play, with Lloydminster going 0-1 and Spruce Grove going 0-3.

The same two teams will complete their home-and-home opening weekend series Saturday night in Lloydminster.

Puck drop is at 7:30 from the Centennial Civic Centre.