Gordon Anderson/Courtesy of meridianbooster.com
The game wasn’t the prettiest of efforts to witness and sometimes it was painful but the Bobcats got it done in the end.
The black-and-orange rallied with a pair of third-period goals to beat the Calgary Canucks 5-4 at the Civic Centre Saturday night.
Austin McDonald’s first goal of the year tied the game at 9:24 but the best was saved for last.
The winner came at 17:35 when rookie Taylor Mulder got his first AJHL goal in spectacular style going coast-to-coast before beating Canucks goalie Colin Cooper with a wrist shot to the far side.
Mulder ragged the puck through centre ice and picked up momentum prior to driving left and blowing by the Canucks defense and from the top of the circle he fired a quick wrist shot under the glove of Cooper.
The rookie defenceman said he was a blank slate as he skated in to the Calgary zone but knew he had to get a result from the effort.
“I was thinking about what I was going to do because it was my first time with a rush like that and I knew if I didn’t put it in I would get an (earful) from the boys,” he said. “(It felt) exhilarating because we battled hard in the third period and to finally get that go-ahead goal felt good.”
As happy as Mulder was with the win head coach Garry VanHereweghe wasn’t exactly raising the roof about how the victory transpired.
VanHereweghe was pleased to get the two points and gave the guys credit for rallying but said the team wasn’t up for it through two periods of play.
“We (had) absolutely no structure at all, we made some horrendous mistakes in our own zone and when we got momentum we seemed to give it right back. It was a poorly played hockey game, I felt, on both sides.”
VanHereweghe said the biggest problem was the Bobcats got caught playing the way the Canucks wanted them to instead of dictating how the game was going to be played.
“We got running around chasing them, they play a bit of that pond hockey system and we fell right out of structure and started chasing the puck around,” he said. “In the third period (the team) started to come back and play with structure and take on some responsibility.”
Captain Grant Baker drew back into the lineup and didn’t miss a beat at either end of the ice.
He was steady in his own zone and contributed with a goal and an assist.
Baker said he was dying to suit up considering he been out for a couple of weeks.
“It’s been so long and I just couldn’t wait all day to get out there,” he said.
The coach said it’s nice to get the captain back considering what he means to the club.
“He is all heart and he is totally committed to the Bobcats hockey team,” he said. “He’s a great leader and just having him back on the ice. Even though it was his first game I thought he played very well.”
For the third straight game the Bobcats gave up four goals and they will not be overly successful if that stat persists.
VanHereweghe said the team isn’t full of prolific scorers so they have to be neat and tidy in front of their goalies.
“We’ve got to be down to three goals a game or lower for us to win,” he said. “We’re not going to be a team that fills the net we need to score by committee.”
Back up goalie Sean Kuehn made his first AJHL start and got his first win and Ryan Swier also got his first AJHL goal in the second period.
Nolan Yaremchuk scored the other goal for the Bobcats (1-2) and Kuehn stopped 26 shots for the win.
The Canucks (0-3) received a pair of goals from Jordan Wiest and singles from Derek Thorogood and Kent Walchuk. Cooper stopped 26 and took the loss.