Blazers centre Chase McAllister makes a turn around Panthers defenceman Logan Carr. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
The Lloydminster Sobeys midget AA Blazers beat themselves this past weekend.
The Blazers (3-13-2) surrendered two power-play markers and two goals off turnovers in a 5-2 loss to the Lakeland Panthers (4-9) at the Servus Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The errors foiled a strong effort by the boys who fought back twice to tie the contest during the opening 20 minutes, and pushed hard to even the match in the final frame.
“We just need to keep working hard,” said Blazers right wing Jacob Biensch. “We’re at rock bottom right now. The New Year is coming up and we need to turn the ship around.”
A Blazers giveaway led to the opening marker by Panthers forward Janson Pashniak 1:49 into the opening frame, but the home side rebounded six minutes later on a steal in the neutral zone and break down the middle by Keagan Rowland.
Panthers forward Nathan Duff made it 2-1 with 5:51 left in the period by deflecting a Danik Becotte shot from the half wall in off Blazers goalie Eric Cook’s pad.
Rowland provided a reply on the power play about two-and-a-half minutes later. Two late Blazers penalties then gave the Panthers a five-on-three advantage to start the second period.
Kael Molde found the back of the net during the power play. Pashniak and Tanner Barnes added to the score during the middle of the second period leading to a Blazers timeout.
Biensch said the 30-second break was just to settle things down.
He noted the Panthers had all the momentum at that point, so they needed a chance to catch their breath.
“I thought we came back with a lot of power,” said Biensch. “We generated lots of shots. My line had a few scoring opportunities, but their goalie played solid and we couldn’t bury it.”
Blazers centre Kody Gregoire enjoyed a great chance to get his team within two about nine minutes into the third period on a break, where he moved across the slot to get Panthers goalie Sylvin Menard sliding only to find his glove blocking the open side.
Biensch set up Gregoire for another chance on a pass in front with a minute remaining, but Menard fired out a pad to make the save.
The Blazers will attempt to turn the corner at a tournament in Olds, Alta., this weekend. The club will head back home to face the Beaumont Braves (9-2-1) in their last game before the Christmas break on Dec. 22.
“We need to start bonding as a team, work hard, keep playing our game and buy into the systems,” said Biensch. “We need to just follow our coach’s lead.”