5921 50th Avenue
Lloydminster, SK S9V2A4
(780) 875 - 3362
Lloydminster midget AAA Bobcats defenceman Noah Cook and Grande Peace Storm forward Bailey Hartman battle for the bouncing puck. Jamie Harkins/Meridian Booster
The Lloydminster midget AAA Bandit Energy Bobcats made up for a less than ideal start to the 2017-18 season.
The Bobcats pushed through a 30-minute game delaying referee snafu and opening half case of the jitters, to tie the Grande Peace Storm 2-2 before a packed crowd of supporters at the Robert B. Holmes Memorial Arena on Saturday night.
“They came out a little flat, but (they got) better as it went on,” said Bobcats head coach Cole Fischer.
“I was happy with the last half, (but) not so much the first.”
The Storm pushed the play early grabbing a 1-0 lead on the power play off a Jeremy Niven deflection at the top of the crease a little over three minutes into the first period.
Storm forward Bailey Hartman had a great opportunity to double the lead about nine minutes later on a one-timer from the slot that Bobcats netminder Andreai Proctor-Ramirez just managed to get a pad on.
A steady Storm stream to the penalty box in the middle frame brought the momentum back onto the Bobcats side with Austin Saint and Jack Bygrove teaming up for two great back-to-back chances in close that Grande Peace goalie Lars Kaliel somehow managed to keep out.
A.J. Macaulay finally lit the lamp on the power play with 1:36 remaining in the period on a snap shot from just over the blueline that beat Kaliel high glove side.
Bobcats defenceman Luke Franklin made it 2-1 just over six minutes into the third period with a shot from the point through traffic.
The Storm’s Taylor Paulovich almost provided the equalizer about 70 seconds later by picking up a centering pass from Carter Massier before sliding the puck into a seemingly open side from the top of the crease.
“It was just lucky,” said Proctor-Ramirez.
“I didn’t really see the guy backdoor, but right when I saw the puck coming I just luckily got my blocker on it.”
The Storm continued to press the play throughout the remainder of the third period with Edge Lambert finally beating Proctor-Ramirez in close on a two-man advantage with 5:52 remaining.
Fischer said the Bobcats feature a mix of seven returnees from last year, as well as a solid rookie group of 15, 16 and 17 year olds this season.
He said they’ll fight for a playoff spot, but as far as where they’ll finish is up in the air right now.
“You got to wait and play a few games,” said Fischer. “Our schedule doesn’t do us any favours.
We play 12 of the first 14 (games) on the road, so we’ll get to know each other real well. We’ll get a handle on things and see how it goes.”