It came out of the blue at first, and then with great frequency as the Camrose Kodiaks built up a 5-0 lead en route to a dominating win over the Lloydminster Bobcats Tuesday night at the Civic Centre.
PHOTO: COURTESY MERIDIAN BOOSTER
After a strong start to the game for the Bobcats, controlling the play in general, except for one defensive miscue that led to a breakaway against, the Kodiaks pulled a surprise play off the faceoff as former Cat MacKenzie Bauer shot the puck off the faceoff, forcing a reactionary save by Bobcats goaltender Alex Leclerc which left the rebound right on the tape of Kodiaks forward Paul Lovsin, who made no mistake in burying his first of three goals on the night.
Minutes later, while on the power play, Kodiaks forward Nelson Gadoury fed a streaking Cole McBride who found room right up the centre of the ice, driving in towards Leclerc before slipping a backhand five hole for a 2-0 lead.
Things looked to shift from bad to worse for the Cats when Kris Spriggs got his stick up on a Kodiaks player, and with a two-goal lead the Kodiaks were given a four-minute powerplay opportunity. However, the Bobcats powerplay tightened up and killed off the first three minutes before Tyler Morrison took a tripping penalty to return the play to 4-on-4 before the Bobcats finished the first period, and started the second, on an abbreviated powerplay.
The man advantage was ineffective for the Bobcats, but they would get another opportunity a few minutes later. With Estian Coetzee serving a too many men penalty, the Bobcats set out on a powerplay that would only last 22 seconds before Evan Tschumi was given a roughing penalty that caused a 4-on-4 situation. The Kodiaks would then add to their lead as Nelson Gadoury led a 2-on-1 rush up ice before dishing to teammate TJ Brown who pushed the visitors' lead to three on a backdoor goal 6:33 into the second period.
Looking for some kind of spark, the Bobcats received another powerplay opportunity late in the period, but things went from bad to worse as Gadoury forced a turnover in the offensive zone while pressuring on the penalty kill, working the puck to teammate Lovsin who beat Leclerc glove side for his second goal of the game to extend the lead to 4-0.
Lovsin completed the hat trick early in the third period, again shorthanded, as Cole McBride intercepted a cross-ice breakout pass and walked into the zone before feeding Lovsin, who once again walked in alone and beat Leclerc to make it 5-0 in favour of the visiting Kodiaks.
The Bobcats were able to break the goose egg 37 seconds later as Troy Van Tetering banged a rebound past Patrick Gora to make it 5-1. On the goal, three Bobcats extended point streaks as Van Tetering has points in three straight, and with assists on the play, Morgan Messenger pushed his point streak to 8 games, and Kris Spriggs' streak extended to 5. However, it was little consolation as the Cats found themselves trailing a team they had already beat twice this season by a wide margin.
The rest of the game would finish without scoring as the Kodiaks left Lloydminster with a sound 5-1 victory. Final shots on goal were 37-19 in favour of the Bobcats, but the Kodiaks were in control from the time they took a 1-0 lead.
Now the Bobcats will have two days to prepare for a big Friday night contest against the Bonnyville Pontiacs, who remain one point ahead of Lloydminster in second place in the AJHL's North Division after tonight.