Opening a season against recent three-time champs like St. Louis is never an easy draw, and the Wildcats found that out in a 4-2 loss Wednesday morning. Dennis Kravchenko and Brennan Parker scored the goals in the loss, while Tyler Green stopped 22 of 25 shots.
St. Louis struck early for a quick 2-0 lead. Just over a minute in, Joseph Birmingham tapped home a loose puck for an early lead, extended to two goals on a Bryan Watt tally via an unassisted shorthanded breakaway.
The Wildcats woke up quickly though, as Dennis Kravchenko got the Wildcats on the board only three minutes later off a Tanner Fahlstedt assist, cutting the game to 2-1 through the opening frame.
The second period was a back and forth affair, but St. Louis made it a 3-1 game for the period's lone goal as Frank DiChiara popped a rebound into the net. The Bandits had an opportunity to put the game away late in the period, having a 5-on-3 power play, but the penalty killing units stood strong and kept it a two-goal game.
The Wildcats turned up the heat in the third period, outshooting St. Louis 15-5, but goaltender Tyler Last of the Bandits shut the door. St. Louis added an empty net goal with 1:03 left, followed by Parker's goal with eight seconds remaining.
On the positive side, the Wildcats were a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill in the game, killing off three in addition to the aforementioned 5-on-3.