Expectation still to win


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September 8, 2016 12:00 AM

CELEBRATION The Lloydminster Bobcats had plenty to celebrate last week against Bonnyville when the Bobcats scored nine goals, en route to a 9-2 victory for their first win of pre-season. With three games still to go before the regular season opens, Lloydminster still has time to get their young team some game experience at the junior level.

The Lloydminster Bobcats aren’t taking the year off — they are here to win.
Even if they are a brand new looking team full of young hockey players, many who have never played a regular season Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) game in their career.
With half their pre-season schedule completed and the Bobcats standing with a 1-2 record, there is still considerable work to be done to get the team ready for the season opener on Sept. 16 in Bonnyville.
But already the locker room is feeling optimistic about the upcoming season and not thinking for a second that Bobcats are going to be pushovers and pushed down to the bottom of the AJHL North Division.
“I’m pretty impressed with everything so far, from our goaltenders to our forwards,” said Bobcats assistant coach Taylor Holt.
“We have pretty high expectations from our group, as young as we are. We’re not taking the year off, we’re here to win. That’s what everyone in the room is going to do and that’s a good start. Obviously it is exhibition, but it’s about building every day.”
There is no surprise that, even without AJHL games under their belts, the young Bobcats have adapted quickly to the pace and physicality of Alberta junior hockey.
Holt saw first hand what some of the local talent brought to the rink each night on their quest for a Telus Cup, and that has transitioned well into the junior game.
“The guys we had last year brought it every night and the people in this town saw that,” said Holt. “They just continued that to this year and they are even faster. Some of those kids have taken it a step further. They’re men now and play in a man’s league and they didn’t look out of place at all.”
Lloydminster’s lone victory came with a senior lineup against Bonnyville, where the Bobcats scored often in a 9-2 victory, albeit, against a Pontiacs team that was playing their younger players as well.
Two nights before the Bobcats lost 3-1, while on Monday against former Bobcats head coach Gord Thibodeau and the Whtiecourt Wolverines, Lloydminster dropped a 5-2 decision, with goals coming from former Bocbats Nic Quillan and Morgan Messenger.
Lloydminster will take on the Drumheller Dragons in a home-and-home starting tonight at the Civic Centre before moving on the road.
They will then finish the pre-season on Saturday when Fort McMurray comes to town.

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