It was the final meeting of the 2018/19 regular season between the Lloydminster Bobcats and the Drayton Valley Thunder Saturday night in Drayton Valley, and fittingly, the two teams played a game that perfectly resembled the season series as a whole.
After the Bobcats had jumped out in front, the Thunder came storming back with four straight goals, before making it five with an empty-netter in a 5-2 victory over the Bobcats.
Just like they did in the season series, it was the Bobcats who drew first blood in the game.
After a bit of a feeling out process in the opening period, which only saw 12 combined shots, Lloydminster got on the board in the second when 17-year old forward, Jordan Borysiuk took advantage of a Drayton Valley turnover.
Intercepting a clearing pass in the high-slot, Borysiuk made no mistake firing his 11th goal of the season past Thunder goalie, Rory Dumelie.
Sticking to the script of the season series, the Bobcats then struck again, and did so in memorable fashion.
Playing in just his third career AJHL game, Lloydminster’s own, Mason Ward scored his first career Bobcats goal to put his team up 2-0.
However, the Bobcats barely had enough time to retrieve Ward the puck he scored with before the Thunder began to make their move.
Breydon Berthold was called for tripping just 14 seconds after the Ward goal, and Drayton Valley found their way back into the game.
With 33-seconds remaining on the Thunder power-play, Ty Whitford knocked home a rebound to pull the home-side within a goal.
Following chances in both ends, Drayton Valley tied the game late in the second period.
With just 1:07 to play in the frame, Matthew Kinash was fed a perfect pass from Tanner Hopps in tight on Bobcat’s goalie Justin Vertesi and Kinash snuck the puck through the five-hole of the 6’4 goalie from Hamilton, Ontario.
Building up momentum to end the middle frame, Drayton Valley carried it over into the third.
It only took them 58-seconds Jame Orban to deflect a puck past Vertesi and give the Thunder their first lead of the game. Unfortunately, for the Cats, after Drayton Valley took the lead in the season series, they never looked back.
With another goal coming on the power-play from Matthew Kinash, the Thunder would later add an empty-net goal to complete the comeback from being down 2-0.
Just like the season series, the Thunder were able to get their offensive game going once they had one.
To close out the season series the Thunder won four straight meetings against the Cats, and the game mirrored that.
Drayton Valley’s four unanswered goals (five with the empty-net tally) proved to be too much for the Cats on Saturday night.
With the man-advantage the Bobcats finished 0 for 4, while the Thunder went 2 for 6.
Drayton Valley outshot the Cats 33-31 in the contest.
Next up for the Bobcats is a holiday Monday visit to Spurce Grove to take on the Saints. It will be the first of three minutes with the Saints in less than a week.
Puck drop is set for 2:00 from the Grant Fuhr Arena.