With a big two points on the line, the Drayton Valley Thunder pulled away from the Lloydminster Bobcats for a 5-2 victory Tuesday night, knotting the Thunder with the Grande Prairie Storm in the Viterra North Division standings and putting a seven point gap between themselves and tonight's opponent.
With the game even at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes, Drayton Valley jumped ahead and took the lead for good early in the second period as Michael Doneff took a slick feed from Nolan Krewusik from behind the net and one-timed it home for his seventh goal of the season. Before the Bobcats could find an answer, the Thunder struck again as Rhett Willcox found a back door rebound after Anthony Orubor fired a shot off the rush that Bobcats goaltender Austin McGrath turned aside, but the trailer made no mistake and put it home to give his team a 3-1 lead that the Thunder carried into the locker room.
Needing a spark in the third period, the Bobcats found themselves with their second man advantage of the night midway through the frame, but were unable to connect, ultimately going 0 for 3 on the power play tonight. Minutes after the Thunder penalty to Mackenzie Mindus expired, the hosts extended their lead to three on a goal from Chris Breese, with the assists going to Krewusik and Marcus Walter.
Just over a minute later, the Bobcats responded as Mason Fischer forced a turnover off of Thunder goaltender Joseph McLeod behind the net before feeding Matthew Jones who quickly put it home for his second of the season. However, the Thunder answered back 30 seconds later when Max Salpeter made a nice move in tight off the rush and lifted it past McGrath to seal tonight's final score at 5-2.
While the Bobcats went 0 for 3 on the man advantage, the Thunder had just one opporunity and came up empty. McLeod made 23 saves on 25 shots in the win, while McGrath stopped 26 of 31 in the other net.
The two-game road swing concludes in Sherwood Park tomorrow night as the Bobcats take on the Crusaders at 7:00PM. Pre-game will get underway on Real Country 95.9 at 6:45PM.