Needing a win to move on to the third round of the AJHL Gas Drive Playoffs, the Lloydminster Bobcats wasted no time getting to work on a 5-2 game four victory to complete the sweep of the Whitecourt Wolverines.
Finding themselves shorthanded just over two minutes into the first period, the Cats killed off the penalty just as they had done all series long, and struck quickly once the teams were back to even strength.
Eleven seconds after the tripping penalty to Greg Moro expired, bringing the Bobcats back to full strength, forward Brett Smythe drove down the right wing wall into Wolverines territory and sent a centering pass towards linemate Eric Benshadle, who deflected the puck between his legs and past Wolverines goaltender Tanner McCorriston to make it 1-0 before five minutes had been played.
Less than a minute later, the Bobcats added to the lead off of a faceoff as Zac Giroux drew the puck back to defenceman Alex Pernitsky, who hammered it home to make it 2-0 Lloydminster.
The Bobcats first period outburst continued on a pretty passing play as Stefan Wood moved the puck across the blue line to partner Greg Moro, who snapped it towards the net where Smythe was waiting with a deflection past McCorriston and in to extend the lead.
With the Bobcats ahead 3-0, forward Noah Bauld took an awkward hit behind the goal line, with line mate Kevin Darrar taking exception. Darrar dropped the gloves with Wolverines forward Stephen Wack, and the two exchanged blows in Darrar's first career AJHL fight. With Darrar receiving the two minute instigator, his night was over while Wack received a double minor for roughing.
Late in the first period, it appeared that the Wolverines got on the board on a pretty deflection by Joseph Nardi, but play was whistled down on a goaltender interference penalty against forward Hubert Delisle, negating the goal.
The Wolverines were unable to strike over the rest of the first period, heading to the dressing room with a 3-0 deficit. Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured Lloydminster 10-9.
More rough stuff ensued in the second period, as Bobcats forward Zac Giroux took an awkward check into the end wall from Wolverines defenceman Ryan Grant before taking him to task, with both players being thrown out of the game with fighting majors. Like Darrar, the scrap was the first of Giroux's AJHL career.
Minutes later, the Bobcats added to their lead on a late power play as Greg Moro took a feed from Ryan Chynoweth, beating McCorriston blocker side for a 4-0 lead through two periods of play.
Video courtesy of Bobcats Replay (twitter: @bobcatsreplay)
A third fight took place early in the third period, as Bobcats forward Ryan Chynoweth and Wolverines forward Elliott Peterson traded shots behind the play, with both players getting the gate.
With a 4-0 lead in hand, the Bobcats extended it to five at the 7:27 mark of the third period on a beautiful backhand goal from forward Morgan Messenger, his third of the postseason. The Wolverines would find the back of the net twice in the final minutes of the game on a quick wrist shot in the slot from Matt Gervais and a shorthanded beauty by Kevin Domingue, but that's all the visitors could muster as the Bobcats completed the sweep with a 5-2 victory.
NOTES: Lloydminster dominated the special teams battle in the series, going 5 for 17 (29.41%) on the power play and 22 for 22 (100%) on the penalty kill…With three points (1G, 2A) in game four, Brett Smythe's point total reached eight over four games in the second round, leading all players…Five Bobcats players (Moro, Wood, Kris Spriggs, Benshadle, Smythe) produced at a point per game or better throughout the series…G Alex Leclerc is now 7-0 in the playoffs, with a save percentage of 0.925 and a goals against average of 1.90…Both teams were short players again on Tuesday, as the Bobcats were missing F Troy Van Tetering (6th straight game out), D Christian Lloyd (4th straight game out), and D Griffin Mumby (3rd straight game out) to injury…Whitecourt was missing D Kellan Cornelis, D Jamieson Ree, and F Linden Penner to injury, while F Frederic Letourneau and F Justin Young were serving suspensions, and G Josh Dechaine was scratched from the lineup…Affiliated D Brendan Borbely skated in his second straight playoff game for the Bobcats, and his fourth AJHL game with the Cats overall…Affiliated D Kyle Dronyk made his AJHL debut for the Wolverines, while affiliated F Brayden Dunn made his AJHL playoff debut, having appeared in eight regular season games with the Wolverines and Calgary Canucks…The Bobcats are the first Lloydminster Jr. 'A' team to advance to the third round of playoffs since the 1986-87 Lloydminster Lancers…This will be the first trip to the AJHL North Division final since the 1999-2000 Blazers, when the division final was round two of playoffs…Round three will be against either the Spruce Grove Saints or the Sherwood Park Crusaders…The Saints are currently holding a 3-0 series lead, with game four being played tonight in Sherwood Park