Bobcats earn hard fought victory in Brooks

The Bobcats fought hard on Tuesday night and thanks to a spectacular 2nd period, it was enough to get back in the winning column after hanging on in Brooks, defeating the Bandits 4-3.

After losing their last two games at home by a combined two goals, the Bobcats hit the road to Brooks for a one game road trip. The Bobcats came into Tuesday night’s game with a record of 12-9-1, and another opportunity to jump over the Whitecourt Wolverines for 3rd in the North Division standings. They would have to do against defending champions Brooks Bandits, who have been struggling as of late losing 3 of their last 4 games, but still owning first place in the South Division with a record of 14-5-2 on the year.

Early in the first period the Bobcats were caught with too many men on the ice, Brooks made the Bobcats pay as Patrick Chore finished one off to give the Bandits a 1-0 lead. Near the end of the first period Bobcats found themselves in penalty trouble but this time with a different outcome. Penalty kill specialist Austin McDonald would score his 4th shorthanded goal of the season, and 10th of the year, assists going to Lukas Biensch and Grant Baker. After 20 minutes we were all tied up 1-1.

Bobcats carried the momentum from the late 1st period goal into the 2nd period as some fisticuffs ensued between Bobcats’ Spencer Johnstone and Bandits’ Eric Chervier. It seemed to give the Bobcats the extra spark as Austin McDonald had the magic stick tonight, converting a pass from Tanner Dunkle and Brock Weston into his second of the night and a 2-1 lead. The Bobcats kept pushing and the goals kept coming. Bobcats shorthanded again, didn’t seem to matter as Eric Therrien set up Lukas Biensch where he finished with some skill. Now 3-1 with 4 seconds remaining, it was the Bobcats turn to go on the power play. Coach/GM Garry VanHereweghe pulled Bobcats goalie Devin Green to give the ‘Cats the extra man in the Bandits zone with 4 seconds left and it turned out to be a great decision as Patrick Geary would snap one home with just 1 second left on the clock. Bobcats led 4-1 after 40 minutes.

The Bandits would get back into this game, starting with Kyler Nachtigall finishing Brooks’ second goal of the night to cut it to 4-2. Six minutes later the Bandits would get another one as Alex Roberts got the Bandits within one, 4-3 with 8 minutes remaining and the Bobcats trying to hang on. The visiting team would do just that as the Bobcats snap their two game losing streak beating Brooks 4-3.

Coach/GM Garry Vanhereweghe was pleased with the team’s performance on the road, “The team came out a little hesitant and paid more respect to the Bandit speed than was warranted. But after giving up the initial lead to Brooks we seemed to settle down and play a well-balanced game throughout the second securing a 3 goal lead. The Bandits as expected came hard in the 3rd picking up 2 unanswered goals and I felt the guys showed a lot character and desperation in preserving a hard earned win.”

Austin McDonald and Lukas Biensch both enjoy 2 point nights, while Devin Green stops 20 of 23 shots for his 8th win of the year. Bobcats improve to a record of 13-9-1, and now sit in third place in the North Division. It will be a joyous 6 hour bus ride home to Lloydminster. 

The ‘Cats come home after the game, but it doesn’t get any easier as they take on the Spruce Grove Saints at the Centennial Civic Centre on Friday, November 8th at 7:30 PM where they look to extend their new winning streak to two games.