LLOYDMINSTER — By the time the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs got their heads into the game it was too late.
The Chiefs didn’t appear ready for the second game of the best-of-five Alberta Midget Hockey League final against the Lloydminster Bobcats Sunday afternoon and as a result dropped a 4-2 decision and returned home tied 1-1.
“It was one of those games were we weren’t focused and ready to play and they played with more urgency and were more assertive,” said Chiefs head coach Doug Quinn.
“By the time we started playing we were down 3-0.”
The Bobcats grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Ryan Symington and Zachery Fischer while Matt Nielsen made it 3-0 at 10:09 of the second period.
Tyler Steenbergen narrowed the gap to 3-1 after 40 minutes with Chase Olsen making it 3-2 at 4:23 of the third period.
“We got it to one goal and were forcing the play when we took a silly to many men penalty and that zapped the momentum,” said Quinn.
“Then they scored off a faceoff and that was it. At the end of the day they played with more desperation than we did.”
Zachary Ference scored the ‘Cats final goal at 10:02 of the final frame.
Jayden Sittler finished with 20 saves for the Chiefs, who had 30 shots on Austin McGrath.
The third game of the series is Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Arena with Game 3 Thursday at 7:30,p.m. in Lloydminster. If a fifth game is necessary it’s Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Arena.
“We battled all year to get home ice advantage and we still have that,” said Quinn.
“Hopefully we have more urgency that we did today.”