Whitecourt, AB – The Whitecourt Wolverines skated to a 4-2 win on Thursday night over the Lloydminster Bobcats to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five North Division Quarterfinal Series.
The Wolverines were powered offensively by the line of Brayden Labant, Estian Coetzee and Liam Motley. The trio combined for 3 goals and 6 assists on the night while captain Ryan Grant would score the eventual game-winner.
Power play goals in the opening frame by Motley and Coetzee sent the Wolverines into the first intermission ahead 2-0. Motley was able to skate into the right-wing circle and snap off a wristshot that beat Bobcat goalie Bailey Brkin on the glove-side 6:59 into the period and then Coetzee re-directed a centering pass upstairs on Brkin just under ten minutes later on a setup from Labant.
Just 30 seconds into the second period, Grant fired home a point-shot through a maze of bodies in front of Brkin to give the Wolverines their largest lead of the night at 3-0. Just over four minutes later the Bobcats got on the attack and got a power play goal from Zach Kaiser and then two minutes later, Tucker Scantlebury knuckled a puck past Wolverine goalie Xavier Potvin to trim the home-sides lead down to just one.
The third period would see the Wolverines pepper the Bobcat net with shots to a tune of a 19-4 shot advantage in the period, but it wouldn't be until the 17:27 mark of the period that Labant would give the Wolverines a two-goal cushion after he finished off sensational passing play between himself and his two linemates bringing the final score to 4-2.
The Wolverines and Bobcats return to the ice for game two of their best-of-five series (WCT leads 1-0) Friday night at the Scott Safety Centre, puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Whitecourt Wolverines head coach Gord Thibodeau discusses his team's win:
WCT Goal – 6:59 – Liam Motley(1) from Ryan Grant and Estian Coetzee (PP)
WCT Goal – 15:37 – Estian Coetzee(1) from Brayden Labant and Tyr Thompson (PP)
WCT Goal – 0:30 – Ryan Grant(1) from Estian Coetzee and Liam Motley (EV)
LLYD Goal – 4:39 – Zach Kaiser(1) from Kobe Walker and Daniel Hilsendager (PP)
LLYD Goal – 6:38 – Tucker Scantlebury(1) from Daniel Hilsendager (EV)
WCT Goal – 17:27 – Brayden Labant(1) from Estian Coetzee and Liam Motley (EV)
Shots – WCT 46 (17-10-19) LLYD 19 (6-9-4)
Power plays – WCT 2/7 LLYD 1/5
WCT – Xavier Potvin (1-0) 17sv/19sh
LLYD – Bailey Brkin (0-1) 42sv/46sh
Three Star Selection:
1. WCT-Liam Motley
2. WCT-Estian Coetzee
3. WCT-Brayden Labant
Hardest Working Wolverine: Ryan Grant
Recap presented by: