JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Kevin Darrar tied the game with 6:37 to go and won it 54 seconds into overtime, giving the host Lloydminster Bobcats a wild 4-3 win over the Carleton Place Canadians on Monday night at the 2016 RBC Cup.
The victory evens the Bobcats' record at 1-1, although with the two points for the overtime win they sit fourth in the preliminary-round standings, one point behind Brooks and West Kelowna.
With Lloydminster enjoying 70 seconds of power-play time to start overtime, Darrar played catch with Christian Lloyd before ripping a one-timer over the short-side shoulder of Carleton Place netminder Colton Point and setting off a raucous celebration at the Centennial Civic Centre.
HIGHLIGHTS: BOBCATS 4 – 3 CP CANADIANS OTW from Bobcats Replay on Vimeo.
It was a power-play goal that tied the game as well, with Darrar knocking his own rebound past Point to get the hosts even and ultimately force the extra period.
Noah Bauld and Greg Moro had the other goals for the Bobcats, who avoided becoming the first host team since the 1992 St. James Canadians to open Canada’s National Junior A Championship with consecutive losses.
Brett Murray, Bryce Van Horn and Maxime St. Pierre did the scoring for Carleton Place.
The Canadians took the crowd out of the game very early; Murray finished off a two-on-one with Van Horn by tapping in a cross-crease feed just 30 seconds after the puck dropped for a quick 1-0 lead.
Bauld replied for the Bobcats when his snap shot hit a Carleton Place stick and beat Point under the cross-bar for a power-play goal at 6:39, but Van Horn picked up a bounce off the end-boards in the slot and beat a sprawling Alex Leclerc to restore the Canadians’ lead just 1:26 later.
St. Pierre quickly made it a two-goal advantage for the East Region champions, batting a rebound past Leclerc only 14 seconds after the Van Horn goal.
But Greg Moro cut the Lloydminster deficit in half late in the opening frame, driving to the net before Carleton Place defenceman Alex Robinson inadvertently swept the puck past Point.
The Canadians netminder was the story after that, making 10 saves in the second period and 15 more in the third as the hosts pressed for the game-tying – and then game-winning – goal.
Point finished with 41 stops. Lloydminster held a 45-29 advantage in shots on goal.
The Bobcats get right back to action Tuesday, meeting the Brooks Bandits in an all-AJHL match-up (7:30 p.m. MT), while Carleton Place sees the ice next on Wednesday afternoon, taking on the West Kelowna Warriors (3:30 p.m. MT).