The Lloydminster Bobcats learned a tough lesson in Fort McMurray this past weekend.
The Bobcats (1-4) failed to show up ready to play at Fort McMurray’s Casman Centre on Friday night, resulting in a 7-1 blow out at the hands of the Oil Barons.
The team dug down the next evening matching the Oil Barons (4-0) shift for shift, only to fall just short with a 2-1 loss.
“That’s the way we have to play every night in this league,” said Bobcats general manager and head coach Travis Clayton. “If we do that we’ll win a lot of hockey games. We gave them a really good effort and it’s something we can build off of. If we work that hard and play that well, we can compete against some really good hockey teams.”
Clayton said the boys played a full 60 minutes in the second game of the weekend road trip to Fort McMurray, compared to maybe 25 during the opening contest.
He said they got their legs going in the middle frame and the first eight minutes of the third period during the Friday night game, but a tendency to take shifts off and acquire penalties did them in.
“We’ve discussed that, our discipline, and we have to be a lot better,” he said. “I thought we did a lot better job on Saturday night. We only had three penalties, maybe even two, but when we play five-on-five hocke,y I think with our depth we can wear teams out.”
The Bobcats added to their present and future depth on the blueline this Tuesday by trading 20-year-old defenceman Andrew McCann to the Maritime Hockey League’s Valley Wildcats for 18-year-old rearguard Ethan King.
Clayton said the six-foot-six and 225-pound product of Vernon, B.C., is expected to play a fifth-sixth pairing shutdown role for the Bobcats this season.
He said King will be in the lineup this Thursday and Friday when the team tries to build off the gains made against the Oil Barons in their AJHL showcase matches versus the Drumheller Dragons (4-1-1) and Okotoks Oilers (4-0) at Camrose’s Encana Arena.
“Obviously you don’t like losing, but there are a lot of positives we can build off of,” said Clayton.
“The biggest thing we can take from that game is our work ethic. We competed for 60 minutes and it gave us a chance to win a hockey game. So, we do that this week at the showcase and we’ll have a chance to win both hockey games.”