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‘Cats take Game 3 with 8-5 win over Thunder

By March 9, 2022No Comments
The Lloydminster Bobcats celebrate Ben Bygrove’s empty netter on Tuesday night. Goaltender Kolby Thornton got the assist. Taylor Weaver Meridian Source

 

Seven unanswered goals. That was the tale of the tape from Tuesday’s Bobcats game as they hosted the Drayton Valley Thunder in the first round of AJHL playoffs. 

The first two games of the best-of-seven playoff series went to the Thunder (33-17-10-5) in the form of 3-2 overtime wins, but the ‘Cats (30-26-4-5) stepped onto home ice on Tuesday with a renewed spark. A spark that would lead the team to a necessary 8-5 win. 

The ‘Cats opened up the scoring with a power-play goal halfway through the first frame.

The Thunder would answer back, making it 2-1 going into the second. The Thunder would capitalize again, scoring three more goals in the first four minutes of the second period. 

 A minute after the Thunder potted their fifth goal, Chase Visser would score a power-play goal, opening up the floodgates for the ‘Cats.

Mack Stewart quickly put two past Thunder netminder Jackson Berry before Nik Hoogendoorn tied the game 5-5 with seven minutes remaining in the second.

For the Bobcats, the third period looked very similar to the second, with goals coming from Hassan Akl, Andon Coles and Ben Bygrove. It’s also worth noting the ‘Cats eighth goal from Bygrove was an empty netter with an assist from netminder Kolby Thornton, who was recently named the AJHL’s top goaltender of the year.

“That’s a character win,” said Stewart. 

“Being down 5-1 and scoring seven unanswered, (it’s) unreal, and the crowd was just going too, it shows that the city was really behind us.”

For Bobcats head coach and general manager, Nigel Dube, Tuesday’s effort was a decision the team made together. 

“Either it was going to be a short series if we didn’t want to get back into it, or chip away at it goal by goal. Then we got the second one, and then the third one. I think that third one gave us the most life.

“When we got the fourth one, the roof kinda blew off the building a bit thanks to the energy from the fans; I’ve never heard the Civic as loud as I did tonight.”

The Bobcats host the Thunder tonight for Game 4 of the series, and Game 5 is scheduled for Friday in Drayton Valley for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.