The goals came early, often, and from some unexpected sources as the Lloydminster Bobcats built up a first period lead and never looked back in a 6-3 victory over the Okotoks Oilers on Saturday night.
On an early power play, the Bobcats got on the board as Nick Quillan put a shot through traffic from the blue line that found its way past Oilers goaltender Riley Morris and into the net 3:25 into the first.
Minutes later, the Oilers drew even as Trey Degraaf took advantage of an errant pass in the Bobcats zone, beating goaltender Alex Leclerc on the glove side to make it 1-1.
From there, the Bobcats turned it up as first Griffin Mumby and later Stefan Wood found the back of the net for the first time as a Bobcat, giving the visitors a 3-1 lead after one. In a stellar opening frame, the Bobcats outshot the Oilers 13-5.
Early in the second, the Cats picked up right where they left off as Brett Smythe brought the puck into the offensive zone before dishing to Eric Benshadle, who ripped a shot past Morris and under the cross bar to make it 4-1 Lloydminster. Like Mumby and Wood in the first, this was Benshadle's first goal in a Bobcats uniform. For both Wood and Benshadle, it was their first goal in the AJHL.
Finding themselves down three goals, the Oilers continued to battle and would cut the lead in half later in the second period on the penalty kill, as Colin O’Neill intercepted a drop pass just inside the Okotoks blue line, taking it all the way back on a breakaway before beating Leclerc. One goal each side is all that would occur in the second period as the Cats took a 4-2 lead into the second period.
The Bobcats played an excellent road period in the third, grinding the minutes down until Troy Van Tetering deflected a Mumby point shot to extend their lead to 5-2.
With just over five minutes remaining, the Oilers would strike again on the power play as Matt McNair deflected a puck between Leclerc’s legs to make it 5-3, but a late power play goal into an empty net from Morgan Messenger sealed a 6-3 win for the Bobcats.
Final shots on goal were 35-24 in favour of the Bobcats.
On special teams, the Lloydminster power play generated two goals on five opportunities, while Okotoks broke through once on four tries.
Coming into tonight's game with a 10 game point streak and a four game goal streak, Bobcats forward Kris Spriggs was held off the board, putting an end to both.
The Bobcats will now close off their three game road trip with a matinee against the Calgary Canucks tomorrow afternoon at 2:00PM.