Championship game schedule for Sunday, May 22: Lloydminster Bobcats vs. West Kelowna Warriors, 4 p.m. MT/6 p.m.ET
JASON LA ROSE
LLOYDMINSTER, Alta./Sask. – Ryan Chynoweth scored his first two goals of the tournament at the most opportune time, sending the Lloydminster Bobcats to the championship game at the 2016 RBC Cup with a 6-2 semifinal win Saturday over the Trenton Golden Hawks.
The host Bobcats will face either the Brooks Bandits or West Kelowna Warriors in the final on Sunday (4 p.m. MT, live on TSN 3/4/5). The Bandits and Warriors play their semifinal later Saturday.
Lloydminster is the second consecutive host team to reach the championship game (the Portage Terriers won the national title last year), and just the ninth team since 1990 to finish fourth in the preliminary round and win its semifinal.
Noah Bauld, Nick Quillan, Christian Lloyd and Kris Spriggs had the other goals for the Bobcats, who also became the first team to ever have their first regulation-time win at the tournament be the semifinal.
Danny Hanlon and Lucas Brown had the goals for Trenton.
After playing from behind in each of their four preliminary-round games, the Bobcats struck first; Bauld parked himself at the side of the net and beat Golden Hawks goaltender Daniel Urbani with a quick shot just 6:05 in, and getting the loud, pro-Bobcats crowd at the Centennial Civic Centre into it early.
But Trenton needed just 38 seconds to respond after Hunter Fargey took advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone and fed Hanlon, who got his shot over the shoulder of Lloydminster netminder Alex Leclerc to tie the game.
Despite being outshot 9-8 in the first period, the Bobcats took a lead to the intermission on a weird goal. Quillan let go a wrist shot from the point that beat Urbani and went through the net. After some dispute on the ice the goal was quickly confirmed by the officials and Lloydminster headed to the dressing room up 2-1.
Lloyd made it a two-goal game seven minutes into the second period with an innocent-looking slap shot from the blue-line that found its way under the pad of the Trenton goaltender, but Brown redirected a point shot past Leclerc just over four minutes later to cut the Golden Hawks’ deficit to one again.
The Bobcats dominated the middle frame, outshooting Trenton 22-7, and only the strong play of tournament Top Goaltender recipient Urbani kept it a one-goal game through 40 minutes.
Lloydminster, though, would not be denied. Chynoweth jammed in a Greg Moro rebound at 8:38 of the third period for a 4-2 lead, and Spriggs converted a shorthanded breakaway at 11:41, going to the backhand to make it 5-2.
Chynoweth finished the scoring into an empty net with just over a minute to go.
“We’ve been talking about this for a week to shake the rust out, we thought we were getting a lot of chances and we thought at some point we were going to bury them and thankfully it came today. [There’s] nothing like leaving it until the last opportunity, but I thought we played hard today and I thought we finally got a bounce or two go our way and we took advantage of it.”
– Lloydminster head coach Gord Thibodeau, on securing a spot in the championship game on Sunday
“It’s pretty surreal knowing that you’re one game away from being a national champion; it makes all the hard work you put in throughout the year worth it for sure.”
– Bobcats forward Ryan Chynoweth, on his team making it to the final
“It’s going to be a bumping arena [tomorrow], we have to come out and have a good start against them. Obviously they are there for a reason, they’re going to be a good team and we have to play hard.”
– Warriors captain Kyle Marino, on facing the host Lloydminster Bobcats tomorrow in the championship game
“I thought our kids played really hard tonight and stayed disciplined when they had to. We still have a crack at national championship tomorrow and if someone had of given this to us in August, I’m sure we would have taken it.”
– West Kelowna head coach Rylan Ferster