The Lloydminster Bandit Pipeline Bobcats took six penalties in their Telus Cup tournament opener against the Lac St-Louis Lions, which proved to be costly against the top team out of Quebec.
Isiah Campbell scored at the 2:45 mark of the first period at the end of a power play, but it was a second period power play goal by Jérémie Bucheler that put a quick end to the momentum the Bobcats were building from the first period, as Lloydminster fought to tie the game with a Chase Wouters power play goal.
However, Lloydminster went back to being down one and after Wouters tied the game late in the third, Mathias Laferriere put an accurate wrist shot under the bar in the final minute of the third period to give the Lions the 3-2 victory.
“Against a skilled team like that you cannot take penalties,” Bobcats head coach Travis Clayton told the Source. “We did, it can’t happen.”
While the Lions went only 1-for-5 on the power play, it was the momentum swings penalties caused that put the Bobcats in an early hole.
Lloydminster was out shot 14-4 in the first 10 minutes of the opening period, in large part because of two power play opportunities. When back to 5-on-5 for the rest of the period, the Bobcats outshot the Lions 14-3, and carried the momentum into the second period where they didn’t allow a shot on net for the more than a quarter of a period.
With two more penalties following in the second, and another in the third, Lloydminster learned quickly that, against other good hockey teams, discipline will be a key factor moving forward in the midget hockey tournament.
“It comes down to being disciplined,” said Clayton. “If we stay out of the box and take only two or three penalties, we win that hockey game. But when you take six penalties and give them a 5-on-3, they are going to capitalize. They are a good skilled hockey team.”
Lloydminster arrived on Saturday in Quispamsis, N.B. for the midget AAA hockey national championships after a long day of travel, which Clayton said factored into the first 10 minutes of the game as the players got their feet under them and knocked off any of the tournament jitters.
From there, Clayton felt they got back to playing the physical Bobcat style hockey that made them successful all season and led to both of Wouters goals in front of the net in traffic and, at times, dominating the game in all aspects.
But it still ended in a 3-2 loss, despite the Bobcats outshooting the Lions 48-41 in the game. It’s a disappointing end to their first foray into the national spotlight, but Clayton said the tournament is far from over, and the team needs to put the loss away and get ready for tomorrow’s opponent.
“You can’t dwell on it because if you dwell on it, you won’t be able to go tomorrow,” said Clayton. “I thought we played good enough to win. It sucks to lose but we just have to throw it aside and get ready for tomorrows game.”
The Bobcats will now play the host team, the Saint John Vito’s, at 7:30 p.m. ADT, 4:30 p.m. MST. The Vito’s qualified for the tournament by winning the Atlantic Region champions, and are another skilled hockey club that Clayton and the Bobcats are ready for.
“It’s going to be packed, quite the atmosphere, so we are going to have to be ready,” said Clayton. “I know the boys have been in that situation before with a packed rink on the road. I told the boys, learn from it, throw it aside and get ready to go tomorrow.”