A pair of third period goals from the visiting Fort McMurray Oil Barons dropped the Lloydminster Bobcats to a 2-4 record to conclude the exhibition season after a 4-3 loss tonight.
Trailing by one heading into the final frame, Jackson McKinstry took advantage of a turnover in front of the Bobcats net before beating Austin McGrath to bring the game even at 3-3. With just over five minutes to play, Will Conley cut to the centre of the ice and found a lane to shoot, making no mistake for the fourth and final goal for the Oil Barons.
The Cats were able to maintain a lead for most of the game tonight before ceding way in the third. It was Will Middleton getting his team on the board with his second goal in two nights early in the first, with the assist going to Cory Santoro.
Cody Hodgson responded for the MOB late in the first to bring the score back to even, but the Cats fought back quickly with Zach Kaiser finishing a pretty 2-on-1 passing play with Zach Webb to put the home team ahead once again.
The offensive outburst continued for Lloydminster as it was only 0:35 until Middleton slipped a puck out front to Matthew Jones who snuck a low shot past Chris Curr to make it a 3-1 Bobcats lead after the first period.
Fort McMurray would cut into the lead with the lone goal of the second, courtesy of Ryan Cox, with the assists to Jarred White and Curtis Roach.
It was a chippy affair tonight as the two teams combined for 68 minutes in penalties, including fighting majors to Middleton and Jordan Steenbergen in the dying seconds of the second period. For Middleton, playing in his third AJHL exhibition game, the fight ended his night with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick.
McGrath was given the crease for the full 60 minutes tonight, and turned aside 22 of 26 shots. At the other end it was a split effort as Chris Curr made 19 saves on 22 shots while Eric Szudor closed off the contest with a clean sheet on 11 shots.
Next up for the Bobcats is the 2016-17 regular season opener on Friday night in Bonnyville against the Pontiacs. The two teams will return for a rematch on Saturday at the Civic Centre at 7:30.
Season tickets are on sale now and going fast, get yours today ahead of the home opener by calling the Bobcats office at 780-871-0900 or going online to tickets.lloydminsterbobcats.ca!