Bandit Energy Bobcats forward Jaydon Gartner fires a shot on the Rangers net. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
A few early season tendencies came back to bite the Lloydminster Bandit Energy midget AAA Bobcats.
The Bobcats (3-11-2) dropped a 6-4 decision to the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers (4-13) at the Centennial Civic Centre on Sunday.
The loss came down to a flat first 10 minutes and defensive miscues throughout.
“At the start of the year, we struggled to score goals, and now we’re starting to score goals,” said Bobcats defenceman Noah Cook.
“We still have the same old things. We give up too many goals to win all the games. I think most of the time we do pretty good, but we just have to work on turnovers and our communication in our own end.”
The Rangers came out of the gate determined to put the home side down quickly. They out shot and outscored the Bobcats 15-5 and 2-1, respectively, through the first 10 minutes.
The Bobcats lone goal came while shorthanded at the 8:21 mark of the first period when Jordan Borysiuk wired a shot past Rangers goaltender Jacob Bennett off a rush down the wing.
Cook tied the contest 2-2 with 3:59 remaining in the frame on a bullet from the half wall that clanked off the post and in.
Rangers defenceman David Dach got the go-ahead goal 49 seconds later, but the Bobcats once again came back to tie the game before the first period was out. Right wing Jaydon Gartner scored the marker on a backhand from the slot that beat Bennett blocker side.
Alex Thacker put the Rangers up 4-3 less than a minute into the middle frame by rifling the puck top corner on Bobcats goalie Andreai Proctor-Ramirez. Brady Clayton made it 5-3 about three minutes later, which ended Proctor-Ramirez’s night and ushered in backup netminder Ross Hawryluk.
Cook said their starter can’t be blamed for the five goals against. He said their goalies have kept them in most of the contests this year, but the men playing in front of them just haven’t done a good enough job of helping out.
Bobcats defenceman Kale Hancock brought his team to within one 7:33 into the second period thanks to a nice set up from behind the net by Jacob Biensch.
The Black and Orange kept pressing for the tying marker throughout the remainder of the game, but Bennett was up to the task stopping anything that came his way.
Eleven of the Bobcats first 16 games this season have come on the road. The team went 1-2-2 in their first five home contests and can now look forward to having eight of their next nine games in the Border City.
“We struggled on the road,” said Cook. “At home we are doing pretty good. This is our first loss at the Civic itself, but it’s nice to be here. It’s way better than having to worry about bus legs.”