A shorthanded goal from Calgary Mustangs defenceman Kylor Wall early in the third period stood up as the game winner as the Mustangs picked up their first win of the season by a score of 4-2 over the Lloydminster Bobcats at the Max McLean Arena in Camrose on Saturday afternoon during the 2016 AJHL Showcase.
Both teams came into the contest looking for their first victory of the season, and the first two periods provided little indication who would come away with it as the game entered the final frame tied up at 1-1.
Early in the third it was the Mustangs jumping ahead as defenceman Tyler Lentz came driving down the right wing into Bobcats territory, blasting a slap shot home to take the lead at 2-1. Moments after the scoring play, Lloydminster was given an opportunity to get right back into it with one of seven power plays on the night.
Instead of finding a way to break through on the man advantage, the Cats found themselves trapped in their own zone as a pair of Mustangs penalty killers continued to pour pressure on until a turnover was forced. Calgary forward Mathew Popowich gained control of the puck deep in Lloydminster territory and fed Wall who had snuck into the high slot before drilling a one-timer past Jeremy Kelleway to make it a 3-1 Mustangs lead with 16:10 to play in regulation time.
From there, the Bobcats would continue to push back and got within one just shy of the ten minute mark as Cory Santoro scooped up a rebound off of a point shot from Daniel Hilsendager and put it away. Coming into the Showcase, Santoro hadn’t found the back of the net in five contests but managed to score in both games this weekend.
With over half a period to go and just needing one goal, the Bobcats kept pushing but were unable to find an answer for Mustangs goaltender Cole Hayward, who stopped 13 of 14 shots directed his way in the final frame.
Wall put the game on ice in the final minute as he sent the puck down the ice from his own zone into an empty Bobcats net, sealing the score at 4-2 and clinching the Mustangs first win of the season.
The Mustangs jumped ahead to a 1-0 lead early in the first period on the tail end of a Bobcats power play as Yuri Chernichko led an odd-man rush up ice before being turned aside by Kelleway. Following up the play, Anthony Orubor found the rebound and finished it for his second goal of the season.
The Mustangs initial lead held up for just over 20 minutes until Bobcats rookie defenceman Daniel Hilsendager snuck a quick wrist shot past Hayward to knot the score at 1-1. The goal was Hilsendager’s first career junior marker.
Lloydminster ultimately outshot the Mustangs 38-29, but failed to convert on seven power play opportunities on the afternoon.
Next action for the Bobcats comes Friday night on the road against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.