Bobcats left wing Brock Sottile takes aim at the Pontiacs net. JAMIE HARKINS LLS PHOTO
An uneven effort has left the Lloydminster Bobcats with another slash in the loss column.
The Bobcats (5-15-1) fell 6-3 to the rival Bonnyville Pontiacs (8-8-3) at the Centennial Civic Centre on Saturday night.
The Pontiacs top line of PJ Marrocco, Derek Brown and Brendan Morrow proved the home side’s undoing by controlling the play early and providing answers when the Bobcats pushed back.
“We kept our minds into it,” said Brown, who scored two goals and notched three assists in the match.
“Lloyd’s had a bit of a break, so we knew we had to really give it to them right off the bat.”
It took just over three-and-a-half minutes for Marrocco to find the back of the Bobcats net off a quick shot following an offensive zone faceoff win by Brown.
Bobcats netminder Nicholas Sanders, who was making his first AJHL start after being reassigned by the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders late last month, had no chance on the Pontiacs second goal at the 6:49 mark, as Morrow scooped up a loose puck out front off a point shot and deposited it into an open side.
Cole Johnson brought the score to within one late in the first period on a drive down the wing before wiring a shot top corner far side on Pontiacs goalie Justin Travis. Brock Sottile, who joined the Bobcats in late October after also being reassigned by the Raiders, potted his second goal in three AJHL games 6:05 into the second period to tie the contest.
“We played a team that works hard every shift,” said Bobcats head coach and general manager Travis Clayton. “You can’t play in spurts. We were there, but we weren’t there. It’s one of those things I guess, but you got to come and work 60 minutes and I didn’t think we did. We played in spurts, which is just not good enough.”
Brown provided a reply on the power play about a minute later by directing the puck into a low corner off a quick three-way passing play involving Kirby Proctor and Nicholas Ormon.
The Pontiacs centre made it 4-2 with 1:37 left to play in the frame on a shorthanded breakaway.
“I started skating up the ice and I saw PJ get it,” said Brown. “Fortunately it hit their guy’s shin pad or it would have been all the way down. I just noticed it bounced right to the middle and I thought I might as well go with it. I had the opportunity and he gave me the whole top corner, so I took it.”
Marrocco made it 5-2 about four minutes into the third period, while Bobcats centre Zach Kaiser picked up his sixth of the year on a deflection from the slot two minutes later.
An empty netter with 2:09 remaining helped Marrocco to the hat trick and four-point night.
“For us, me and PJ, we know we got to be offensive guys,” said Brown.
“That’s who we are. That’s what our role is on the team and with Morrow coming on we knew we had to bring him with us. It’s good that he scored his first goal too. We knew we just had to get pucks on net and start swarming their defence and that’s exactly what we did and it worked out.”