Defensive breakdowns cost Bisons in return home

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The CFR Chemical Bisons returned to action at Ron Ebbesen Arena Nov. 26 after playing eight-straight games on the road, but the homecoming was hardly celebratory.

In its second and final regular season meeting with the Canadian Athletic Club (CAC) Gregg Distributors, the Bisons had its opportunities to put pressure on its opponents but couldn’t capitalize, falling 6-2 to the Dodge Division squad.

“The effort was there, it was just every single mistake that we made (CAC) capitalized on,” said head coach Dan Gendur. “We work extremely hard no matter what the score is, we take pride in that, and we’re just going to have to clean up the mistakes that we made.”

Effort wasn’t an issue for the Bisons in its first game since Nov. 19 as it outshot its opponents 46-31, but failed to find the back of the net until the midway point of the third period.

The Bisons got off to a quick start, dominating the play in the CAC defensive zone for the opening 10 minutes, but couldn’t get a solid enough scoring chance against the Edmonton squad.

“Overall, we had some scoring opportunities, you’ve just got to bury them, guys have to get hungrier around the net,” Gendur said. “We stressed to (the players) the first 10 minutes were so crucial to get our feet under us after the days off.”

A defensive breakdown a little more than 10 minutes into the opening frame led to CAC’s first goal on netminder Braeden Mitchell, giving CAC a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

CAC continued to capitalize on Bisons mistakes in the early stages of the second period, scoring a pair of goals in the span of 21 seconds to take a 3-0 lead.

“It’s defensive breakdowns. We get to spots, we stand there and our heads aren’t on swivel,” Gendur said. “It’s simple things, but we have a couple of days to clean them up.”

A pair of penalties following immediately after the third goal prevented the Bisons from mounting any form of counterattack. Mitchell recovered from the quick two goals and stopped the remaining shots he faced in the second to keep the score at 3-0 heading into the third.

The Bisons finally got on the board in the third period when the excellent effort of Brett LeGrandeur, Mark Zachary and Ryan Ries potted home a goal off of LeGrandeur’s stick to cut the deficit to two goals.

“We put them together in Leduc. They produced, they played well and tonight they were our best line,” Gendur said.

CAC answered back with another pair of goals to put the game well out of reach for the Bisons, but the team was not deterred and wanted to finish strong.

Fifteen-year-old Jett Jones potted his league-leading 12th goal of the season with less than five minutes remaining and, with the Bisons pressing for a third goal, CAC netted an empty-net goal to set the final score at 6-2.

At 5-10-2 the Bisons currently sit eighth in the Chrysler Division, but will be looking to bounce back with a win when it takes on the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

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