In game one of a critical two game home stand against the Grande Prairie Storm with playoff implications, the Lloydminster Bobcats offense blew up for a 6-0 victory at the Civic Centre Friday night.
Austin McGrath earned his second straight shutout with 30 saves, Kobe Walker netted his first career AJHL hat trick, Zach Kaiser had his first career two-goal game, and captain Connor Odelein busted a scoring slump with a power play goal to help power the home team to victory in front of an energetic crowd of 1145 fans.
Walker got the scoring started early in the first, ripping a wrist shot past the glove of Storm goaltender Xavier Burghardt to make it 1-0 just 90 seconds in. Brady Barclay picked up the lone assist on the tally.
Before the period was over, Kaiser notched his first of the night as he picked up a rebound off of a Brendon Borbely point shot, knocking it home for his 14th of the season to make it 2-0 heading into the first intermission. After one, the Bobcats outshot the Storm 13-11.
In the second, the offense really got rolling as Kaiser picked up his second of the game 2:25 into the period with another assist to Borbely.
Less than three minutes later, Walker responded with his second as well, ending Burghart's evening as the home side took a 4-0 lead.
Walker kept it coming and completed his first career hat trick just past the midway point of the second period, with assists to Daniel Hilsendager and Barclay.
Still in the second, Odelein completed the scoring for the night as he deflected a Chasetan Braid one-timer on the power play to make it 6-0 in favour of the Bobcats.
From there, the Bobcats shut it down thanks in large part to 11 third period saves from McGrath as the team took game one of the two game weekend set.
With tonight's shutout, McGrath hasn't allowed a goal in 147:12 dating back to Saturday night's game in Olds.
The two teams meet again at the Civic Centre tomorrow night at 7:30, with pre-game on Real Country 95.9 starting at 7:15.
Lloydminster now sits one point ahead of the Storm for the final playoff spot in the Viterra AJHL North Division with one game in hand and six games to go.
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