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LLOYDMINSTER BOYS’ CHOIR MAULED IN BEAR ATTACK

Copyright TG Storey

OK, so it wasn’t a real bear attack. It was a junior A hockey game, hosted by the Olds Grizzlys. And it wasn’t the Boys’ Choir that Lloydminster strapped skates onto, and sent to do battle with the Grizzly’s. It was the Lloydminster Bobcats hockey team.

And, it really wasn’t a mauling. It was a butt kicking delivered by the Olds Grizzlys.

And, while it’s doubtful that the Lloydminster Bobcats did any singing on the bus trip back home, if they did, it was certainly done an octave or two above how they sounded when they arrived in Olds. Some of them may find positions in the Lloydminster Boys’ Choir, if indeed Lloydminster has a boys’ choir.

So that’s an overview of the game from this spectator who, admittedly, knows nothing about hockey. But how about the nitty gritty details?

The game began tentatively for the Olds Grizzlys. The Bobcats appeared to be out hitting them. At least three Olds players took solid body checks in the first ten minutes of the game. Grizzlys’ forward, # 5, Bromhead, was dropped by a check in an opposition corner by one of them.

Lloydminster was the first to register a shot on goal.

The Grizzlys, rather than hitting hard, seemed content to focus more on tactics and finesse. There were a couple of beautiful drop passes by Olds players rocketing up the left wing. They were Olsen to Greenwood and Klessens to Ward, respectively.

The Grizzlys defense showed some nice moves too, with rink-wide passes to keep the puck inside the opposition blue line. Occasionally there was a shot towards the net from an Olds defenseman, reminiscent of stuff Bruins legend, Bobby Orr, would do.

Grizzlys # 22, Kraus, skated the puck in a big counter-clockwise circle in the Lloydminster end, looking for a scoring or passing opportunity. Like a shark circling a bleeding swimmer. Strap a fin to that man’s back; the waters are hungry.

But it was the Bobcats who scored first. The goal went like this:

Olds was pushing the puck up the left wing but lost control of it at the opposition blue line. The puck bounced into Bobcat territory where a Lloydminster player took control of it in a corner face-off circle.

He directed it back towards Olds territory with a rebound shot off the boards. The puck bypassed middle ice player congestion and went deep into the Grizzlys end with two Bobcats players pursuing. There was one Grizzlys’ defenceman back, guarding the slot against a two man break-away.

One Bobcat player chased the puck into the right wing corner. Another headed down the slot towards the Olds net.

The Grizzlys’ defenceman moved towards the corner to counter. Grizzlys’ goal tender, Henderson, moved to that side of his crease to protect the corner of the goal.

The Lloydminster player in the corner, passed to the one in the slot. The slot man fired a quick sweeping shot from only about a meter out, into the unprotected left wing side of the Olds’ goal. Goalie, Henderson, saw the play, but didn’t have time to get in front of the shot. It beat him low on his stick side. The Bobcats are on the scoreboard 1 – 0.

Getting the credit for the goal are Bobcats #11 Forward, Scantlebury, the slot man, # 18 Forward, Walker who made the pass from the corner, and # 2 Defenseman, Wood, who started the play with his rebound shot up the ice.

The Olds Defenceman, # 2 Bleay, did have the satisfaction of pasting Bobcats, Walker, into the boards with a heavy body check, and watching him peel off, and drop to the ice. But the puck was already in the net.

The Bobcats goal seemed to energize the Olds team. While they were unable to score on a Power Play opportunity later on in the First Period, they turned up the voltage in their play. Pucks were coming at the Bobcats’ goal tender from all angles. On one occasion he appeared to duck to avoid a head level shot that might have taken his cranium clean off, had it connected.

The period ended with Olds trailing 1 – 0, but leading in shots on goal, 14 – 5. The Second Period is going to be very interesting.

PERIOD 2

Get out the tranquilizers folks. Period 2 was a barn burner. There were 25 shots on net. And four goals. FOUR!

I swear I smelled burning rubber from the puck over heating. Wonder it didn’t stick to the boards on some of the shots that went wide of the net.

And the body checks! MERCY! Board rattling, bone jarring collisions.

Photographing right next to the glass I was propelled backwards several times from the shockwaves of checks nearby. And the ultrasonic autofocus on the camera was rendered near useless.

There were nine penalties. Who’s kidding who? It was ugly out there on the ice. But there was a beauty to it. I could not turn away.

Highlights are as follows:

Goal # 1

At 2:09 a Bobcat player takes a penalty for charging. Olds has the power play.

With seconds remaining in that power play, Olds Forward, # 37, Visser, collects a pass as he crosses the opposition blue line, heading into the opposition end. He moves down the right wing side of the slot towards the Bobcats goal, and wrists a quick shot, from the hash marks on the right wing, corner, face-off circle.

The Bobcats goalie blocks the shot. But it rebounds. Visser tries to jam it in the net with a backhand but the Lloydminster goalie is too quick,

The puck gets loose again.  Olds Forward #v 15, Berger, digs at the puck. It’s a melee in front of the net. Hard to see where the puck is.

But Grizzlys # 10 Forward, Bannister is in front of the net now, on the left wing side. The puck is still not visible from my vantage point. But the red, goal light goes on. THE PUCK IS IN THE NET! TIE GAME, 1 -1. WHOO HOO.

Bannister is credited with the goal, according to the game’s score card, assisted by Visser and Berger.

Goal # 2

Lloydminster tries to clear the puck from its own end with a pass up the right wing. It gets stopped in the center ice zone, where the Grizzlys get control of it.

The puck is passed to Olds Forward # 14, Greenwood. He races across the opposition blue line with it, and down the slot on a three on one break away. He is flanked on the right wing by team mate, # 22 Forward, Kraus, and on his left by Olds Defenseman, # 3 Austin Pickford.

Greenwood passes to Kraus, on his right, to get the puck around the lone Lloydminster defenseman between him and the net. The pass is good. Kraus gets by the defenseman, who moves laterally to engage.

This allows Greenwood to move past the defenseman and towards the net. Kraus passes the puck to Greenwood. Both Greenwood and Pickford converge on the net, on the goalies right side. It’s unclear whether it was Greenwood or Pickford got the puck in the net. I couldn’t see from where I was standing. But in the net it went.

Olds is ahead 2 – 1, at 7:54 of the second period. Shots on goal are 22 – 8 in favor of Olds.

 
Goal # 3:

Three quarters of the way through the second period there is a faceoff in the Bobcats zone, in the circle to the goalie’s left side. Grizzlys’ Forward # 11, Guenter, wins the puck drop. Instead of moving directly towards the net, he goes deeper into the zone, towards the end boards. This draws the Bobcats goaltender tight against the left side of his goal to protect the corner angle.

With the goalie committed, Guenter passes the puck to #5, Bromhead, who is two meters out from the net in the slot. He immediately makes a sweeping shot low into the open side of the net. The Bobcats goaltender had no chance of moving across his crease in time to stop it.

The Grizzlys are ahead 3 – 1. The time is 15:20.

Goal # 4

Most of us have had the experience of a blackflies hovering around our face. Well, after the Bobcats captain took a roughing penalty late in the second period, that’s what the Lloydminster goalie experienced on the subsequent power play, relative to Olds Forwards # 7, Olsen, and # 14, Greenwood. They both took turns hovering at the edge of the Bobcats’ crease and making life miserable for the net minder, while the puck was being passed around the perimeter of the Bobcats’ end, checkerboard fashion, from Grizzly to Grizzly, as the Olds team searched for an opening.

Finally the puck was passed to Olds Forward # 11, Guenter, who was at the top of the slot at the Bobcats’ blue line. He passed it down the slot to # 7, Olsen. Olsen moves it towards the net and over to the left wing side. The goalie sees him coming, but Greenwood is right in front of the net, partly blocking the goaltender’s view.

Olsen, with the puck, is only a meter off the net now, hard over on the Bobcat goalie’s right side. Greenwood still screening. Olsen lets go a wrist shot that slips between the goal tender and his right side goal post. It’s in the net.

With that power play goal, at 17:28 Olds leads 4 – 1.

Period 3

The third period was only slightly less intense than the second period. There were three goals, 8 penalties, and 22 shots on goal, 12 for the Grizzlys and 10 for the Bobcats.

The scoring began early, just fifty-eight seconds into the period. Bobcats’ Forward # 18, Walker, received a rink wide pass at the Grizzlys blue line. He managed a breakaway up the right wing, and circled in behind the Olds defense. He approached the net from the direction of the right wing face-off circle, drawing Olds goal tender, Henderson to that side of the net. At the last moment he veered to his left and popped a backhand shot into the net, beating Henderson on his stick side.

The score is 4 – 2 for Olds.

The Grizzlys scored at 11:26. Play was snarled in the Bobcats end up against the right wing boards by the corner face-off circle. Three Lloydminster players were digging for the puck against two Grizzlys.

Olds Forward # 22, Kraus, gets the puck free and passes it to # 47 Defenseman, Kripps, who is positioned just inside the blue line on the left wing. He lets fly a low, hard slap shot that is screened on its way to the Bobcats net. It appears to beat the Lloydminster goalie on his glove hand side.

It’s 5 – 2 for Olds.

This goal appeared to inflame tempers as a melee developed less than a minute later behind the Olds net, involving three separate pairs of combatants. Five penalties were assessed, three for Lloydminster and two for Olds.

The final goal of the game is scored at 19:13. Grizzlys’ goal tender, Henderson, stops a shot fired from the left wing inside the blue line. The puck rebounds, though, and Bobcats’ Forward, Walker, flips it high into the net on the right wing side from only a meter out.

The score is 5 – 3 for Olds. And that is how the game ended. Shots on goal were 38 – 28 in Olds’ favor.

The Grizzlys scored on 2 of 7 power plays. The Bobcats could not capitalize on their two power play opportunities.

And so, a well-earned victory for the Grizzlys. For the Bobcats? Maybe the boys’ choir has openings.