A tough road trip for the Lloydminster Bobcats came to a close on Thanksgiving Sunday as the Bonnyville Pontiacs sent them home from the RJ Lalonde Arena with a 5-1 loss.
Carrying a 2-1 lead into the third period, the Pontiacs delivered a knockout blow 2:15 into the frame as Luke Israel put a rebound past Bobcats goaltender Jeremy Kelleway for his first AJHL goal. The Pontiacs would add another pair in the period with Derek Brown converting a pretty play with Alden Dupuis for a shorthanded marker, and Brandon Whistle putting in a feed from Dupuis for a power play goal in the dying minutes to cement the final score at 5-1.
For forty minutes it had looked as if the game would go down to the wire as it was a more or less back and forth affair in the early going. The Pontiacs racked up 17 shots in the first period but Kelleway had the answer for all but one, a sharp angle shot from Jake Gresh that found it's way over Kelleway's shoulder and in to give the home team a 1-0 lead. In the second, the Pontiacs made it a 2-0 lead as Dupuis took a feed from Ryan Symington and drilled a slap shot home from close range.
Despite being down by two, Lloydminster didn't back off and cut the lead in half by the midway point of the period when Zach Kaiser buried his first AJHL goal on a Bobcats man advantage. Kaiser found himself with some room to the right of Pontiacs goaltender Matteo Esposito and put a backhand on goal that Esposito was able to stop, but he followed up and put his own rebound away to make it 2-1, which is how the period ended. The power play goal was just the Bobcats second of the season as special teams have been an issue in the early part of the season.
Kelleway ended up facing 42 shots in the contest, stopping 37, and Esposito made 25 saves on 26 shots.
The two teams will meet up back in Lloydminster on Wednesday night at the Civic Centre, with puck drop at 7:30.