The Lloydminster Bobcats are looking at their offence to set the pace moving forward after finishing their preseason series against the Sherwood Park Crusaders with a 1-5 record.
The ‘Cats kept their games close in both contests but came up short losing 3-2 on Friday and 5-4 on Saturday.
The team started slowly in both games, closing out the weekend without recording a single goal in the first period.
The Bobcats played in a tight game on Friday evening, but could not complete a comeback after falling behind with two second period Crusaders goals.
On Saturday, the ‘Cats fought in an uphill battle plagued with penalties, leaving the Bobcats short-handed for a significant portion of the game.
The ‘Cats were outshot 43-23 in the contest, racking up 13 penalties and killing off eight of their 11 power plays in the process.
Head Coach and General Manager Nigel Dube said the team was able to pick up the pace as the game played out, but they will need all six men on the ice if they expect to challenge their opponents late in games.
“I thought we came out with a lot of energy in the second after a big five-on-three penalty kill where we blocked five shots. Officiating kind of took over the game, and we ended up playing short-handed five-on-three five times throughout the game. It’s a pretty tough way to play, and credit to our guys who continued to battle all the way to the end and came back but fell short in the end. It’s tough to get all of the lines going and everyone involved when it’s a special teams based game.”
A couple of slow starts in their games over the weekend has Dube looking into what can be done differently to have the team more prepared for game time.
He said while the new regulations and timelines play a factor in the team’s early-game struggles, Dube said the ‘Cats will need to strike early in games to prevent their opponents from having an early advantage.
“We’ve been playing with a defence-first mentality and we need to change it up a little bit and go with offence-first, and when you’re playing well on that end, that can be the best defence. We need to come out of the gate hungrier and be in attack mode.”
The Bobcats closed out the weekend announcing a trade on Sunday evening sending defensemen Jordan Wood to the Winkler Flyers in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in exchange for future considerations.
“I’d like to thank Jordan for all of his contributions to the Bobcats and I wish him all of the best.”
The organization is waiting to hear from the Alberta Junior Hockey League to see when the team will be back on the ice.
The league is expected to meet this week to discuss the season ahead and what steps will be taken.