Spruce Grove Saints vs Lloydminster Bobcats Friday, February 7th, 2020
Written by: Tyler Campbell
Friday night the Lloydminster Bobcats played host for the final time this season to the reigning AJHL North division champion Spruce Grove Saints who are having another fantastic season. The Cats came out strong and played the Saints to a draw through 40 minutes. But they seemed to run out of gas in the 3rd and the Saints walked out of the Centennial Civic Centre with a 4-2 victory.
A bit of an odd start to the hockey game as the Cats started the game with the man advantage, but were unable to capitalize. However, Alex Danis would get the ice breaker just 3:26 into the opening frame as Cam Aucoin did a good job keeping the puck in the Saints zone, the puck went off Aucoin’s foot and onto the stick of Danis who ripped one up high on Saints netminder Max Duchesne. The Saints would respond on the power play as a Ryan Conroy point shot deflected off a Bobcat and past Cats starter Josh Dias to tie it, and that was where things would stand after the 1st period of play.
In the 2nd the Saints came out hard, but the Bobcats were able to withstand the push and eventually found themselves on a power play of their own. Mack Stewart picked off a Saints clearing attempt and found Tanner Mack left alone in the slot and he sent a back hand past Duchesne to give the Cats back the lead. Once again though it would be the Saints responding on the power play as a Jordan Biro shot got through heavy traffic in front of Dias, and unable to see the shot Dias had no chance and it was even at 2 after 40 minutes.
The Saints upped their game in the 3rd and it paid dividends early as 39 seconds into it Brayden Nicholetts finished off a gorgeous 3 way passing play tipping a Ryan Peckford pass by Dias for the 3-2 lead. And the Saints kept coming hard, out shooting the Cats 21-4 in the period. Dias did all he could to keep the Cats in the game, but finally at 17:28 it would be Stanley Cooley ripping one past Dias to finish the Cats off, and the final score would be 4-2.
After the game, Bobcats head coach Nigel Dube had these thoughts. “I thought we came out with some jump tonight and our compete was there throughout the game, and we did a lot of good things. Down the stretch they got a couple breaks, but overall I did like our compete tonight. We do need more offensively, but there were a lot of positives to be taken out of this one.” I also asked Dube about the strong play carrying over from Wednesday night, where the Cats battled back from a 4-1 defecit in Bonneyville to take the Pontiacs to a shootout. “When we play with emotion and energy, and that’s what we saw from the 2nd period on Wednesday night and carried into tonight, we’re a different team. And it’s been more consistent down the stretch here than early on. That’s a team (Spruce Grove) that we gave up 10 against early in October, but we’ve got to the next level now we just need to score more.”
The Cats are right back at it tonight at the Civic Centre as the Drayton Valley Thunder are in town, puck drop is 7:30. As always if you’re unable to make it down to the rink, Shane Tomayer and myself will have the call for you on Hockey TV and the MixLR app!
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