The Olds Grizzlys rolled into Lloydminster on Sunday afternoon after a grueling two games in Fort McMurray and Bonnyville on Friday and Saturday night, and ran into a hungry Bobcats team that struck early and often en route to a 12-1 victory.
On the opening shift of the game, the Grizzlys had the first good opportunity as leading scorers Chase Olsen and Wyatt Noskey led a 2-on-1 up ice towards Bobcats goaltender Pierce Diamond. Olsen's pass to Noskey was out of reach, and Bobcats defenceman Stefan Wood carried it all the way into Grizzlys territory, fighting off to Olds defenders, before feeding captain Taylor Mulder in front who made no mistake in putting the Cats ahead 1-0. Moments later Ryan Chynoweth gathered a feed from linemate Kris Spriggs, walking in alone on Olds goaltender Kurtis Chapman and beating him once again to make it 2-0 Bobcats with less than a minute gone in the first period.
From there, the snowball kept rolling as Austin O'Rourke, Spriggs, and Kevin Darrar each chipped in to make it 5-0 after the first period. Shots on goal after one favoured the Bobcats 20-6.
The second period was more of the same, as Zac Giroux, O'Rourke (2nd), and Spriggs (2nd) added to the lead for the Bobcats while Tyr Thompson got on the board for the Grizzlys, making it 7-1 after forty minutes. The intensity picked up in the second period, as a total of 80 minutes in penalties were handed out to both teams. Grizzlys forward Riley Smith was given a game misconduct late in the second period for a check from behind on Giroux, who would return to the game. Shots on goal through two periods were 34-10 in favour of Lloydminster.
Things didn't get any better for Olds in the final frame as the Cats received goals from Wood, Christian Lloyd, Eric Benshadle, and Brett Smythe to seal a 12-1 victory over the Grizzlys. The rough stuff continued in the third as Grizzlys defenceman Jason Miller was assessed a five minute major and a game misconduct for a blow to the head on Bobcats forward Connor Odelein early in the period. Later on, Odelein would get onto the gamesheet as he squared off with Grizzlys forward Logan Kerner for a spirited scrap just past the five minute mark of the period.
Video credit: @bobcatsreplay
Final shots on goal were 56-16 in favour of the Bobcats, with Pierce Diamond turning aside 15 shots while improving his record to 12-4 on the season. The 12 goal output is the highest total ever recorded in Bobcats franchise history (back to 2005-06). The previous record was set on February 11th, 2012, as the Cats knocked off the Drayton Valley Thunder 10-4.
The Bobcats win, paired with a Whitecourt win on Sunday afternoon keeps Lloydminster one point back of the Wolverines with each team having 12 games remaining. This weekend, Whitecourt comes to Lloydminster for a pair of games on Friday and Saturday that could ultimately decide second place in the AJHL North Division.
First up for the Bobcats, however, is a Wednesday trip to Bonnyville to take on the Pontiacs at 7:30PM at the RJ Lalonde Arena.