With a chance to end the series and earn a few days rest ahead of the second round of the AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs, the Lloydminster Bobcats picked up an emphatic 11-3 victory over the Drayton Valley Thunder on Sunday night.
It was the Thunder who got on the board first, as Brayden Harris knocked in a rebound for a power play marker at the 9:16 mark to make it 1-0 Drayton Valley.
Minutes later, the Bobcats were able to answer as defenceman Graydon Smith scored his first career AJHL playoff goal to level the contest at one.
Moments later, the Cats escaped a goal mouth scramble around goaltender Alex Leclerc, as the puck bounced precariously in the blue paint but never went in the net before defenceman Christian Lloyd skated it to safety. With nothing but open ice ahead, Lloyd busted up the wing and created a 2-on-1 with Austin O’Rourke, who he took a feed and put it home to make it 2-1 Bobcats.
By the end of the first period, Ryan Chynoweth and Eric Benshadle also got in on the scoring to make it 4-1 in favour of the Bobcats.
Lloydminster kept up the attack in the second period, blowing the game wide open with goals from Kris Spriggs, Zac Giroux, Alex Pernitsky, Morgan Messenger, and Taylor Mulder, making the lead 9-3 after forty minutes of play.
From there it was in cruise control as the Cats added another two goals from Chynoweth and Kevin Darrar to clinch the series sweep with an 11-3 victory.
Bobcats’ defenceman Greg Moro made his return to the lineup on Sunday, playing for the first time since February 6th against the Whitecourt Wolverines after missing eleven games due to a lower body injury. Moro made it a little over half way through the game before receiving a game misconduct penalty for checking from behind.
Goaltender Alex Leclerc started the game, earning his third straight playoff victory with 24 saves on 27 shots through two periods. Pierce Diamond came on in relief for the final stanza, turning aside all eight shots faced.
Three Bobcats finished the first round series with four points: Kevin Darrar (3 goals, 1 assist), Ryan Chynoweth (3+1), Eric Benshadle (1+3), Alex Pernitsky (1+3), and Christian Lloyd (1+3).
The second round will get underway on Friday night as the Bobcats head to Whitecourt for game one.
Games three and four will be played in Lloydminster on Monday, March 21st and Tuesday, March 22nd. Get your tickets at tickets.lloydminsterbobcats.ca, or call the Bobcats office at 780-871-0900!