LLOYDMINSTER, SK (October 5, 2012) — The long season-opening losing streak for the Lloydminster Bobcats (1-8-1) ended at the expense of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (3-6) on Friday night, as the Cats skated away with a 4-3 home win at the Centennial Civic Centre.
The returns of veteran defencemen Brock Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, AB) and Mike Green (Fort Saskatchewan, AB) didn't stem the tide of a fierce Lloydminster attack.
The MOB opened the scoring on a mid-first period goal from rookie defenceman Zach Wittenburg (Chestermere, AB), a quick wrister from the slot set up by a perfect drop pass from Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB). The goal was Wittenburg's first of his junior A career, but the lead would not last.
The second period was defined by two goals in the span of 23 seconds from the home side.
First, a long point shot from defenceman Cole Berreth (Bowden, AB) produced a rebound that Austin McDonald (Turtleford, SK) was able to jam past goalie Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) to tie the game at the 17:41 mark.
Barons defenceman John Teets (Fairbanks, AK) took a slashing penalty immediately following the goal, leading to a powerplay on which the Bobcats quickly converted.
It was the goal scorer McDonald who carried the puck in along the right wing, before dropping it back to a wide open Grant Baker (Calgary, AB), whose wrist shot from the blue line beat Jaillet to give the 'Cats their first lead of the game at 2-1.
Baker extended the Bobcat lead just under five minutes into the third period as well, converting on a long slap shot from the right point to give the home side its biggest lead of the game.
But the goals came in bunches again, as just 13 seconds later, Brett Printz (Red Deer, AB), followed up on a rebound generated by Luc Lalor (St. Albert, AB) to score his team-leading third goal of the year and bring the Barons to within one goal.
But a bizarre bounce at the side of the MOB net led to a goal for Nolan Yaremchuk with less than 9 minutes to go in the third. Though Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) capitalized on a rebound with 1:27 to go for his first goal of the year, the final seconds proved fruitless.
The jubilation from the no-longer-winless Bobcats was palpable as the crowd of 1,008 was finally sent home happy.
The Barons outshot the Bobcats 22-21, but went 0-for-5 on the powerplay, while the 'Cats went 1-for-3.
The teams play the rematch on Saturday night at 7:30. The live radio broadcast starts at 7:15 on Country 93.3.
Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Zach Wittenburg (first Junior A goal)
2. Austin McDonald (1 goal, 1 assist)
1. Grant Baker (2 goals)