In the first home game of the season for the Lloydminster Bobcats, it was an opportunity to deliver two straight losses to the rival Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Despite a slow start in which neither side was able to generate much offensively, the Bobcats broke through in the second period with a shorthanded marker from defenceman Austin Yaremchuk as the 20 year-old defenceman picked his way up the ice and settled into a vacated slot area before rifling a wrist shot past Billy Gorn for his first of the new season.
For the second night in a row, Bobcats goaltender Alex Leclerc was square to the puck and quick to react to any scramble plays as he aided the Bobcats to a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill. The Yaremchuk goal would stand to be the winner as Leclerc kicked aside 25 saves for his first AJHL shutout.
The second period would finish without any further scoring activity, and the Bobcats powerplay had been stalling as well, racking up a stat line of 0 for 3 through 40 minutes, and 0 for 7 through 100 total minutes this season. However, things got on track for the 'Cats early in the third as Morgan Messenger started and finished a pretty passing play on the man advantage and notched his second goal in as many games to start the year.
Just over seven minutes later, the powerplay would strike again as Taylor Lotoski knocked in his own rebound to give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead. The margin would stand until the dying seconds when Zac Giroux was sprung on a breakaway to put the game on ice into the empty net, setting the final tally at 4-0 for Lloydminster.
The Bobcats won the special teams battle, going 2 for 5 on the powerplay and 6 for 6 on the penalty kill including Yaremchuk's short-handed goal. Over the weekend series, the 'Cats went 2 for 9 on the powerplay and 10 for 10 on the penalty kill.
Next weekend, the season resumes in Lloydminster with a two game homestand against the Whitecourt Wolverines and Grande Prairie Storm on Friday and Saturday night.