A pair of goals from Cody Laskosky and Stevie Bryant in the opening 3:25 was all the offence the Whitecourt Wolverines would need tonight as Bryant's first of the night stood as the game winner in a 3-1 victory over the Lloydminster Bobcats at the Civic Centre.
The Wolverines were the sharper team early in the contest, as demonstrated in the opening minute when Mitch Lipon corraled a puck off a defensive zone faceoff and worked it to Laskosky, who did the rest of the work bringing the puck up ice and into the Bobcats zone before beating Austin McGrath short side to make it 1-0.
Shortly after the opening goal, the Bobcats found themselves on the penalty kill after a roughing penalty was issued to Mason Fischer. The Wolverines weren't able to strike on the man advantage, but just seconds after Fischer stepped out of the box the Cats were unable to clear the zone, allowing former Bobcat Nick Quillan to fire a quick shot on goal that was tipped home by Bryant to make it 2-0 Whitecourt before all the fans settled into their seats.
Whitecourt jumped out to an 11-0 lead in shots in the opening five minutes of the contest, but the Bobcats turned things around in a hurry. Taking a chip pass at the offensive blue line from Zach Kaiser, Kobe Walker found himself turned around but all alone in front of the Wolverines goal, and spun a sneaky backhand past the right pad of former Bobcat Pierce Diamond to make it 2-1, although the shot count stood at 11-1 for Whitecourt at the time.
. @LloydBobcats Goal! ?? @kobewalker21_ finds the back of the net. ?? Kaiser 2-1 Wolverines 10 mins left in the first @FarmLinkCanada pic.twitter.com/xn1Zpqndbq
— Bobcats Replay (@bobcatsreplay) November 10, 2016
From that point forward, neither team would score another goal until Bryant put home his second of the game into an empty net in the dying seconds of the game to ice it at 3-1.
Although there were no goals, there was plenty of opportunity. Overall, there were 15 power plays in the game between the two teams. Whitecourt converted their empty net goal on a man advantage, giving them a 1/5 conversion rate tonight. The Bobcats came up empty on ten attempts, including a trio of 5-on-3 situations.
Wolverines Head Coach Gord Thibodeau didn't make it out of the second period tonight in his regular season return to the Civic Centre. After Kellan Cornelis was sent off for slashing late in the second period to give the Cats their third two man advantage of the game, Thibodeau had some choice words for the officials and was sent to the dressing room.
Austin McGrath got the start for the Cats, and made 30 saves on 32 shots. In the other net, Pierce Diamond earned his 10th win of the season with 18 saves on 19 shots.
Chasetan Braid made his Bobcats debut tonight, skating on a line with Zach Webb and Scott Ivey, while Blake Fletcher and Ian Duberdieu both appeared in their first AJHL game tonight after being called up to the Bobcats as affiliate players. Injuries to forwards Connor Odelein, Brayden Hyland, and Tre Doyon, and defencemen Daniel Hilsendager, Kyle Dronyk, and Nolan Carothers required that some extra help be brought in.
The Cats are back in action for a pair of games this weekend as the Calgary Mustangs come to town on Remembrance Day and the Drumheller Dragons enter the Den on Saturday night.