The Lloydminster Baker Hughes Bobcats season came to end last week, as the midget AAA hockey club was ousted from the Alberta Midget Hockey League playoffs in the Division Finals last Thursday, losing to the Canadian Athletic Club in three straight games.
Kobe Mohr scored the first goal of the game for the Bobcats in Game 3, however, CAC responded with six straight, and Lloydminster had no reaction, as head coach Travis Clayton simply put it, the Bobcats, didn’t have it.
“We had a real good first period, we had chances, we just couldn’t get the timely goals to get a good lead,” said Clayton. “We just didn’t have it. They are a good hockey team and we just couldn’t answer them after.”
The Bobcats, outscored 15-5 in three games, were on a short turnaround from their Division Semi-final matchup that went to five games, having only a days rest in between the end of that series and the start of the Division Finals. It showed in Game 1 after a slow start and penalties put the Bobcats down 1-0 in the series after a 4-0 loss.
Game 2 faired better, however, a blown three goal lead eventually resulted in a 5-4 overtime victory for the Athletic Club, who wrapped up the series on home ice with a 6-1 win, and move on the league finals.
While it may have been a disappointing finish to the season, overall, the Bobcats came a long way from opening puck drop in September to the playoffs. At one point, the midgets were four games below .500, as the young roster figured out how to play at the higher level. And when they learned to play as a team, according to Clayton, things took off quickly, leading the Bobcats to a 19-10-5 record, nine games above .500.
“We were in the finals of the North which is nothing to be ashamed off,” said Clayton. “A lot of hockey teams wish they could be in that position. Just playing the game the right way and competing. We learned how to win hockey games and play as a team. They can take that to wherever the boys go next year.”
It is unclear currently how many will return to play midget hockey next season, as many of the young players who played bantam last season, will look to make their WHL rosters next year. Team leading scorer Zane Franklin, who scored 12 goals and 35 points during the regular season, was a second round pick of the Lethbridge Hurricanes, while Kobe Mohr and Jantzen Leslie were first round picks in last year’s WHL Bantam Draft, going to the Edmonton Oil Kings and Everett Silvertips, respectfully.