After a tough 5-2 loss to the Drayton Valley Thunder the previous night, the Lloydminster Bobcats bounced back in a big way with a hard fought 3-1 road victory over the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Wednesday.
With goals coming from Austin Ehret, Kobe Walker, and Brady Barclay, the Bobcats stayed in the lead all night long tonight as Austin McGrath shut the door behind them.
Ehret scored his first as a Bobcat just 4:00 into the contest with a seeing eye wrist shot from the blue line that found its way past Crusaders netminder Zac Klassen. Matthew Jones was planted in front to provide a screen, and picked up an assist on the play along with linemate Caden Benson. Ehret scored eight goals as a member of the Calgary Canucks last season, but hadn't yet found the net in 20 games between the Canucks and Bobcats this year.
Coming into the second up by one, the Bobcats tagged another early in the period as Kobe Walker took a setup from linemates Zach Kaiser and Brady Barclay, roofing it over Klassen on a fresh sheet of ice just 0:37 seconds into the frame. Walker's seventh goal of the year, combined with Kaiser's 10th assist, kept the two linemates in the team lead for scoring with 16 points each.
The Bobcats continued to press throughout the second period, outshooting the Crusaders 14-7, but it was the home team that got the next bounce as Matthew Dyskstra sniped a short handed marker on Bobcats goaltender Austin McGrath with 0:10 left on the clock, setting the stage for an intense third period.
It looked like a different Sherwood Park team in the final frame as the Crusaders gave the Bobcats everything they could handle, but McGrath made a series of show-stopping saves late in the period before Barclay hit the empty net to ice the game at 3-1 with 1:06 to play.
McGrath picked up his fourth win of the season with a 38 save performance, while Klassen was tagged with the loss after making 37 saves on 39 shots.
The Cats struck out on a pair of power play opportunities while Sherwood Park was 0 for 1.
Next up for the Bobcats is a home date on Saturday night against the visiting Fort McMurray Oil Barons, which will also be the team's annual Teddy Bear Toss night. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal to the arena to throw on the ice after the Bobcats first goal of the game, after which they will be collected and donated to The Gift of Christmas, providing presents for children in need this holiday season.
The puck drops on Saturday night at 7:30PM.